Liberals investigation: Allegations of harassment of MPs on Parliament Hill

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NorthReport
Liberals investigation: Allegations of harassment of MPs on Parliament Hill

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NorthReport

Sorry for the typo (ie allegations) above - would the mods please correct it and thank you

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Mods, could we plese close this thread?

NorthReport

This was just on CBC News so it sounds like the Trudeau Liberals are attempting to do some type of damage control by releasing it to their best buddies in the press, the Liberal supporting CBC News Department.

robbie_dee

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/liberals-suspend-two-mps-ov... and Mail[/url]

The two suspended Liberals are Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti and the alleged incidents involved two as-yet unnamed MPs from another party.

voice of the damned

The two MPs are New Democrats.

http://tinyurl.com/q9yrr6q

voice of the damned

And different outlets are giving different degrees of detail. The most damning that I've seen so far has been the National Post, whereas the Globe And Mail is just saying "personal misconduct". CBC is sorta in-between, saying "harassment", without specifying the type.  

voice of the damned

The Toronto Star strongly insinuates the nature of the accusations...

http://tinyurl.com/nmfaakm

"..plunges Parliament Hill etc"

terrytowel

There seems to be some confusion as to if this is a suspension, or if they are expelled. Guess we will find out in Trudeau's presser in 30 minutes.

What I find more interesting is that Sun TV News and the Toronto Sun is running with the story as front page news. As should be.

But the Dean Del Mastro story? Nothing, nada, no coverage in print or on Sun News TV at all!

Winston

terrytowel wrote:

There seems to be some confusion as to if this is a suspension, or if they are expelled. Guess we will find out in Trudeau's presser in 30 minutes.

What I find more interesting is that Sun TV News and the Toronto Sun is running with the story as front page news. As should be.

But the Dean Del Mastro story? Nothing, nada, no coverage in print or on Sun News TV at all!

What's MORE interesting (and nauseating) is how the Toronto Star turned allegations of Liberal misconduct into a gushing puff piece about the Great Inheritor:

The Toronto Star wrote:

Amid last week’s explosion of stories about Ghomeshi, as well as because of Trudeau’s own background, the charges of misconduct were immediately taken seriously.

Trudeau, as a student, was one of the first male volunteers to work at the Sexual Assault Centre at Montreal’s McGill University.

In his newly released autobiography, the Liberal leader writes of the work he did at McGill, and, with almost eerie foreshadowing of this new controversy, describes how power and institutions can be unhelpful in dealing with sexual-assault issues.

“Many people believed that rape was something that happened when a stranger jumped out of the bushes,” Trudeau writes in Common Ground. “We wanted everyone to understand that the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by people known to the victim and are as much about power as they are about sex.”

Trudeau said that he learned a valuable lesson when he approached McGill about a “somewhat controversial” choice the university made for a newly created post of sexual-assault ombudsperson on campus.

“Another student and I spoke with the university’s president about our concerns. It was a lesson for me on how resistant to dealing with delicate issues institutions can be; we were thanked for voicing our perspective and politely ignored.”

 

 

voice of the damned

Yeah, at the moment, we have no reason to think that the Liberals handled these allegations with anything but prompt attention.

But still, the Star doesn't need to be writing JT's "Heroic Crusader Against Sexual Assault" hagiographies for him.

Unionist

Winston wrote:
... allegations of Liberal misconduct ...

That's as partisan and pathetic a phrase as "allegations of Iranian misconduct" would be for Jian Ghomeshi.

Or are you suggesting this "misconduct" (of which you know nothing) was authorized or somehow spawned by the Liberal party?

Some story breaks... you attack the Liberal Party, the Star brings Trudeau one step closer to sainthood... explain the difference to me, please.

 

Caissa

The timing of these allegations is fortuitous for the NDP since this issue is currently receiving much press. My above comments should not be construed as saying the timing was planned.

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

The timing of these allegations is fortuitous for the NDP since this issue is currently receiving much press. My above comments should not be construed as saying the timing was planned.

Oh, I fully agree with your last statement. The role of coincidence in politics is vastly underestimated IMHO.

 

Winston

Unionist wrote:

Winston wrote:
... allegations of Liberal misconduct ...

That's as partisan and pathetic a phrase as "allegations of Iranian misconduct" would be for Jian Ghomeshi.

Or are you suggesting this "misconduct" (of which you know nothing) was authorized or somehow spawned by the Liberal party?

Some story breaks... you attack the Liberal Party, the Star brings Trudeau one step closer to sainthood... explain the difference to me, please.

My most infinite and unreserved apologies, Unionist! I should have been more precise by saying "allegations of Liberal _MPs'_ misconduct".

Point being, as far as I can tell the alleged victims dealt brought their accusations forward in a discreet and proper manner (i.e. bringing them to Trudeau's attention, and not the media's), and the Liberal party dealt with them promptly. The Toronto Star piece pivoting them for Liberal gain is disgusting. Caissa: for the NDP to use these allegations for partisan gain would be equally distasteful and disrespectful to victims of harassment/assault.

 

Debater

How typical that North Report was the one to post this topic - always hoping to make hay out of anything that he thinks will make the Liberals looks bad.

As it turns out, whatever you may say about Justin Trudeau, this is another indication that he is different from previous Liberal leaders and is more pro-women's rights than any of them.  He has taken a strong stand on other previous women's issues, and now he is getting credit for meeting with the NDP MP's who brought these complaints to him and suspending 2 of his own Liberal MP's pending the results of a full investigation.

He then gave a press conference in which he made clear that in the year 2014, harassment of women will not be tolerated on his watch.  That's integrity.

NorthReport

Trudeau suspends two Liberal MPs from caucus for alleged 'personal misconduct'

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/two-liberal-mps-investigated-for-...

 

 

nicky

How typical that Debater was the one to try to shove pro- Justin hagiography down our throats at every possible juncture.

Winston

nicky wrote:
How typical that Debater was the one to try to shove pro- Justin hagiography down our throats at every possible juncture.

He really should get a job at the Toronto Star: he could get paid to produce pro-Justin drivel! 

Stockholm

What if someone accused Trudeau himself of inappropriate conduct? Would he follow the example he set and immediately resign as liberal leader and from parliament? 

Winston

Stockholm wrote:

What if someone accused Trudeau himself of inappropriate conduct? Would he follow the example he set and immediately resign as liberal leader and from parliament? 

"I'm not saying candidate X is a serial axe murderer, I'm just asking questions."

Surely we can do better than insinuations and straw man arguments. We don't need to be sounding like Glenn Beck; it really cheapens the discussion around what, I suspect, might be a real problem with sexual harassment on the Hill. The NDP was classy in how it dealt with their accusations; similarly, to their credit, the Liberals dealt promptly with the problem. Let's hope that all parties work to ensure that there are finally formal mechanisms put in place on the Hill for dealing with such issues (both for MPs and staffers), and that the Hill becomes a more just place for everyone to work.

Stockholm

As Francis Urquhart would say on House of Cards "You might very well think that, but I couldn't possibly comment" (smirk)

NorthReport

Apparently Megan Leslie has released a document about her own experiences on her first day on the Hill.

scott16

Why does Justin Trudeau refuse to call it sexual harassment only personal misconduct?

NorthReport

Ian Capstick on with Evan Solomon admitted live on air today I think, that he had been sexually molested by an MP.  Who is he?

NorthReport

Who referred this issue of the 2 now suspended Liberal MPS who have been accused of sexual harrassment to that secretive House of Commons Committee as it does not have a mandate to investigate this subject. 

And that's the same committee that hung the NDP out to dry on an unrelated issue, isn't it?

NorthReport
Sean in Ottawa

Trudeau has called for an independent investigator and suspended the two MPs in the meantime.

The allegations sound serious enough to warrant suspension during invetigation and this respects the complainants. The call for independent investigator is also the right call.

Trudeau also was clear about respecting the Hill as a workplace.

He has not charactaerized details of the allegations beyond the suspensions which I think is also responsible.

On this one I find no fault at all.

If this were the NDP this is how I think Mulcair would have reacted as well.

This is not saintly -- it is what you would expect.

As for sexual harassment on the Hill -- there have been bad stories for years. I won't make this partisan. Sexual harassment in a workplace needs to be taken serioulsy and suspension pending independent investigation sounds about right to me.

I might add the independent investigator should look into what sounds ike a culture of harassment of women on the Hill.

I do appreciate the precedent being set here.

janfromthebruce

NDP's @nycole_turmel says victims of alleged harassment didn't know about Trudeau's announcement today. They were re-victimized." It's about common decency and compassion, and thus showed lack of respect for the women. It was "power politics" at its worst.

Rather than see this as a culture one is looking at systemic harassment.

lagatta

I'm glad Stockholm quoted the REAL House of Cards with its cast of villains, not the USian copy.

NorthReport

Tories rejected recommendation on workplace harassment nine months ago

Sexual harassment on Parliament Hill was partly the subject of parliamentary study by a Commons committee just nine months ago.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/05/tories_rejected_recommenda...

NorthReport

Secretive Commons committee will deal with fate of suspended Liberals

The secretive all-party Board of Internal Economy is being asked to figure out how to deal with misconduct by two Liberal MPs.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/05/secretive_commons_committe...

NorthReport

Allegations have opened floodgate for a host of previously untold Hill stories: Hébert

Few are more vulnerable to allegations of personal misconduct than elected politicians.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/05/allegations_suggest_old_ha...

Wilf Day

janfromthebruce wrote:

NDP's @nycole_turmel says victims of alleged harassment didn't know about Trudeau's announcement today. They were re-victimized." It's about common decency and compassion, and thus showed lack of respect for the women. It was "power politics" at its worst.

Rather than see this as a culture one is looking at systemic harassment.

This is disgusting, as Nycole Turmel made clear. Who leaked the fact that the complainants were NDP MPs?

They could have been Liberal staffers, as I would have assumed if the leak had not happened. The Liberals had the motivation for the leak. Cui bono.

Unionist

Further to Wilf's comment, the more I read about this, the less I understand about how it came to light, who did and said what, etc. - except that as a minimum, Justin Trudeau seems eager to score some sort of political points irrespective of who suffers the consequences.

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harassment-allegations-against-2-liberal... were unaware story was going public on Wednesday[/url]

Quote:

CBC News has learned the accusations of misconduct came from two female NDP MPs, but who they are or the precise nature of the allegations is unclear. How far back the alleged misconduct goes is also unknown. 

Complicating matters is the NDP's claim that the two female NDP MPs did not know the allegations of harassment would be made public as they were on Wednesday.

New Democrat party whip Nycole Turmel told host Solomon the NDP MPs were victimized again when their allegations came to light.

"The persons involved, the alleged victims of this harassment or misconduct, didn't know that this would be coming," Turmel said in an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

"So imagine, they are victims and they are victimized a second time."

Liberal party whip Judy Foote made it clear it was one of the two victims who approached Trudeau directly with the allegations on Oct.28.

Foote said she alerted Turmel to the allegations in a meeting with her on Oct. 29.

Anyone know what's happening here? Why do we know they were NDP MPs? Why do we know there were claims of harassment? Someone told the media. Who?

 

Caissa

Anyone else concerned that a secretive committee, with I believe a conservative majority will be examing allegations the Liberal MPs behaved inappropriately to NDP MPs?  Cue Kafka.

MegB

Debater wrote:

How typical that North Report was the one to post this topic - always hoping to make hay out of anything that he thinks will make the Liberals looks bad.

As it turns out, whatever you may say about Justin Trudeau, this is another indication that he is different from previous Liberal leaders and is more pro-women's rights than any of them.  He has taken a strong stand on other previous women's issues, and now he is getting credit for meeting with the NDP MP's who brought these complaints to him and suspending 2 of his own Liberal MP's pending the results of a full investigation.

He then gave a press conference in which he made clear that in the year 2014, harassment of women will not be tolerated on his watch.  That's integrity.

I'm real glad you have a political party you can get behind. Not everyone on the left can say that they do. However (there's always a 'however'), constantly trying to ram your partisan views down other people's throats and attacking them when they disagree is tiresome, childish and unworthy of publication on this message board. If I get one more valid complaint against you, you will no longer have the privilege of belonging to this community. Am I clear?

pookie

I think the fact that the NDP is now attacking Trudeau over this is unfortunate.    If Trudeau did nothing he would be eviscerated, and any defence based on "I was asked not to" would fall flat, and, frankly, be subject to rebuttal by the NDP itself.

Someone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see where a party leader has much recourse in terms of discipline other than suspension or expulsion from caucus.  The leader can't do anything in terms of an MP's independent privileges as a member of the House.

NorthReport

Why were the identities of the 2 MPs who made the complaint released?

Is this the reason why Trudeau is being criticized?

bekayne

More information here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/ndp-says-mps-blindsided-by-libera...

Turmel said neither of the two NDP MPs had wished to file formal complaints over concerns that the allegations could destroy the careers of Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti.

“Rumours sometimes destroy people’s lives,” Turmel said in an interview.

...

Also unclear is when the alleged misconduct took place. A report Thursday in Le Journal du Quebec said Liberal MP Scott Simms was aware of allegations as far back as March 2013, but the alleged victim who told him of the misconduct asked for it to be kept secret.

What is known is that one of the alleged victims approached Trudeau directly with allegations on Oct. 28, when MPs from various parties travelled together to Hamilton, Ont. for the funeral of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, slain by a gunman at the National War Memorial six days earlier. After the funeral, Trudeau was on a bus on his way back to the airport to fly to Ottawa, when an NDP MP approached him to share an allegation of misconduct against one of the Liberal MPs.

Trudeau said Wednesday he immediately directed Foote to make her counterpart from the NDP aware of this.

When Turmel met Foote on Oct. 29, Turmel said she was only aware of one allegation of wrongdoing. The MP who approached her had told her the details in confidence, asking that they not go any further. Turmel said she was not told the identity of the MP at the centre of the allegations.

“We respected the wishes of the alleged victim,” Turmel said.

“The person said to me, ‘I don’t want this to go anywhere,’ ” she said. “This person said, ‘I will deal with this on my own terms.’ “

Turmel wouldn’t say when the conversation took place. She said the NDP tried to help the alleged victim, although provided few details of what was offered or done.

Turmel said she learned of the second allegation of wrongdoing when she met with Foote. It was at that time, she also learned that it was Andrews and Pacetti who were at the centre of the allegations.

 

Caissa

This whole thing is a major clusterfuck.

Sean in Ottawa

Certainly they should have been advised. Perhaps Trudeau did not realize that keeping the identities secret after his action would be difficult. However not acting or delaying acting would have been impossible.

However, their names, as far as I know, have not been disclosed. Trudeau did not even name their party. There are many female MPs and even many NDP female MPs so I don't think this identified them.

It is a mistake that they were not informed, but otherwise it was the right action.

I am not guessing Trudeau's motives. If I had been advising him I would have said don't delay or hesitate becuase that would send the wrong message about the seriousness or a suggestion that complainants are not being believed. In this case where we had women publicly disbelieved recently (Gomeshi case) it would be particularly damaging if these complaints were disbelieved or anyone suggested they could have been. Trudeau did contact them them right away it seems.

If Trudeau made initial contact, said he beleived them and said he would address it and he was not part of disclosing their identities that does not seem like revictimization even if there was a failure to notify them of his announcement properly. Had he not moved swiftly that would correctly be revictimization especially in the context of the Gomeshi story.

I will guess that Trudeau said they were MPs would also have served to remind people that women in every role face this.

We also must bear in mind that these Liberal MPs are denying the allegations and Trudeau had an obligation to speak before they did. I appreciate that he said he heard the allegations and contacted the MPs and confirmed it. As well the suspensions would have to come imediately on hearing from the NDP MPs.

I do think that part of the problem is the hostility and distrust between the parties and the fact they are all politicians and that is part of the background.

I don't feel that the announcement of two male Liberal MPs having done this would have made for a good day for Trudeau either. That likely would have been distressing for Trudeau to deal with on a personal level (If I had employees, friends or associates do something like this I would find it very hard to take). As a politician managing doing what needed to be done to address the complaint was significant. But there would also have been a responsibility to send a signal to his own party, MPs and supporters of where he stands. In a world that mostly tolerates abusive behaviour to women this is critical especially in a leadershipo institution as this is. Not easy and he got it mostly right.

I am sorry but I cannot say with any confidence that I would expect any other party leader to do better than he just did in the circumstances and I can imagine much worse in handling this.

These are the initial feelings I have.

I am less inclinded to judge Trudeau harshly on this than to condemn the MPs who did this -- and express concern that this is a culture on the Hill and there ought to be a real investigation of this.  We have heard for a long time that this is common there.

Rather than approach this in a partisan way, should we not address the fact that this is happening to women at every level including on Parliament Hill? This would be -- you would think -- the one workplace where women ought not to expect sexual harassment.  Millions of working women face this-- and that-- not the specifics of Trudeau's generally correct reaction -- should be the focus.

If you assume there is no possibility for correct motives you will make it impossible for any leader to respond as they should. At least recognize the double bind -- if you act the wrong way or don't act you get condemned; if you do the right thing you get accused of doing it for the wrong reasons. I have not seen anything from Trudeau to convince me that he is not going to have the right motivations in reacting to something like this. Even in a mistake, assuming motives that are not well established is problematic.

Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:

Anyone know what's happening here? Why do we know they were NDP MPs? Why do we know there were claims of harassment? Someone told the media. Who?

A moment ago Rosemary Barton spoke about this. Trudeau, she said, disclosed nothing about the complainants. "We" (the CBC) "obtained that information."

From whom? No one in the NDP wanted this released. No one would ever have guessed the complainants were NDP MPs. If anyone guessed anything, one might have guessed the complainants were young female Liberal staffers. Some Liberals (would have to be more than one off-the-record Liberal before the CBC would use it) leaked it. As Mulcair just said, revictimizing the women.

Rosemary Barton should disclose her sources. They are not entitled to journalistic privilege when their leak revictimizes victims who wanted confidentiality.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Wilf Day wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Anyone know what's happening here? Why do we know they were NDP MPs? Why do we know there were claims of harassment? Someone told the media. Who?

A moment ago Rosemary Barton spoke about this. Trudeau, she said, disclosed nothing about the complainants. "We" (the CBC) "obtained that information."

From whom? No one in the NDP wanted this released. No one would ever have guessed the complainants were NDP MPs. If anyone guessed anything, one might have guessed the complainants were young woman Liberal staffers. Some Liberals (would have to be more than one off-the-record Liberal before the CBC would use it) leaked it. As Mulcair just said, revictimizing the women.

Rosemary Barton should disclose her sources. They are not entitled to journalistic privilege when their leak revictimizes victims who wanted confidentiality.

Trudeau said they were MPs-- the first stories on this I heard were speculations that this meant NDP MPs but they were not certain at the time. But I heard reporters say they did not know.

Yes, a terrible situation.

I do have trouble with the idea that the NDP could inform Trdueau and expect him to take no action. That seems to be an impossible thing to do. I put myself in his shoes. I have an associate/employee and have learned this. I have a duty to investigate and have spoken to the victim and to the the perpetrator. Then I am supposed to have business as usual with this person -- to cover it up -- to risk more people being harmed? Now imagine this in the House of Commons-- a place of leadership?

I think once you level a complaint you lose the option of asking that people do nothing about it. You have a duty to do something when you get a complaint. Not disclosing the victims without permission is a given but ignoring the complaint is not possible and I think would be immoral.

 

Sean in Ottawa

That this is happening to women in all types of workplaces should be the lead story here. The handling of this by Trudeau is very much secondary to what we ought to be talking about. No women in any workplace is safe and this is one more reminder of that.

A national discussion with the objective of specific actions about violence against women and workplace sexual harassment is the appropriate reaction from Canadians. Let's not put any related story ahead of that.

Winston

Sean, I agree with most of what you said and I, too, admired Trudeau's swift response yesterday however two points bother me about this.

The first is that Trudeau called the press conference without even informing the two women he was doing so. He should at least have granted them that courtesy.

The second is that the swift action may have been a bit too swift. These women may, perhaps, have only been wishing for the harassment to stop or be addressed by the leader. They may not have wanted to compromise the two men's careers, but rather have them made aware their behaviour was unacceptable. Certainly, the fact that one of these women went to Trudeau personally, and in confidence (rather than to the media) seems to indicate this may be the case.

Megan Leslie is correct that, in doing what he did, Trudeau has taken away these women's power and control of the situation.

I am not entirely sure of Trudeau's motivation for his action yesterday. If it was just to generate headlines around on a topical issue, then shame on him, though I doubt this is the case. Rather, I think it was a well-intentioned but hasty response that could have been handled better.

Sean in Ottawa

Winston, the more I think about this the more I am coming round to your position.

I think Trudeau would been better if he had contacted them and explained that sine the perp is a MP something had to be done and discussed the options with them to come to some agreement about what that is. I have no trouble with him saying doing nothing is not an option for a party leader of two MPs who did this. He has duty to protect those who are in contact with his MPs.

But I agree with you that he should have done this negotiation with them in secret.

I still think Trudeua was in a terrible position and while it is fair to say he made a mistake, I don't want to condemn all he did and said as I understand where it came from.

The nature of these crimes is that it puts everyone in an impossible situaiton starting with the victims most of all but also including the associates of the perpetrator.

I don't think Trudeau initiated this for politica gain. I am sure there was an attempt at damage control which as a party leader would be also his job while taking appropriate action.

In hindsight I can say a meeting with the MPs to discuss what to do would have been best-- but would they have met with Trudeau? Probably. But is that certain? Did Trudeau know how much they wanted it kept confidential or did he understand only that they wanted their names kept out (which he did)?

Sean in Ottawa

On telling the party leader I think the NDP would have to know those MPs could not remain in the Liberal caucus and I don't know how you do that privately. Still I'll agree greater efforts from Trudeau to get agreement on what to do should have happened.

janfromthebruce

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suspended the two from his caucus, and, when explaining his decision, struck a tone that verged on righteous indignation. One suspects Trudeau might been as much concerned about the electoral politics of the situation as he was about the rights of the two NDP MPs.

One MP resigns, two call out abusers, and a Minister slanders refugees

Unionist

Winston wrote:

The first is that Trudeau called the press conference without even informing the two women he was doing so. He should at least have granted them that courtesy.

When Judy Foote wrote to the Speaker, she never said the MPs were women, nor that they were NDP.

I haven't read all the reports (obviously), but:

How do we know they are women - and how do we know they are NDP?

Wilf Day speculated above that Liberals leaked the party identity to the media. I think Nycole Turmel used the word "she" when she said that one caucus member approached her.

And who came up with the "harassment" word??

 

Rokossovsky

 

Unionist wrote:

I think once you level a complaint you lose the option of asking that people do nothing about it. You have a duty to do something when you get a complaint. Not disclosing the victims without permission is a given but ignoring the complaint is not possible and I think would be immoral.

There is a distinction to be made between following an official process and an informal or investigative one, where no overt action is taken that might out the persons involved. Actions involved can be a simple as talking to the people involved and cautioning them about such behaviour.

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