Trudeau says no rule book on dealing with misconduct
Justin Trudeau concedes that he, like all political leaders, is struggling to figure out how best to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct against members of his own caucus.
“I don’t have a rule book that’s been handed down to me from Wilfrid Laurier as leader of the Liberal party on how to handle these situations,’’ the prime minister said Tuesday.
“This is new for organizations to have to deal with in this way, and we are doing the best that we can on a case-by-case basis — starting from a place of respect, of support (for victims), of belief and understanding that we do have to have fair process as we move forward.’’
Trudeau offered that answer in response to a question about why Kent Hehr — who resigned from cabinet last week pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct towards women — remains a member of the government caucus while Darshan Kang, another Calgary MP facing misconduct allegations, has been booted from the Liberal fold.
That question has gained urgency as additional complaints against Hehr have surfaced, including an allegation that he groped a young female staffer.
Liberal insiders say Kang, a former member of the Alberta legislature, voluntarily quit caucus last year while he’s being investigated for alleged sexual harassment involving former female staffers in both his provincial and federal constituency offices.
Trudeau didn’t mention that, but did say “every case will be different.’’ He acknowledged that the #MeToo movement sweeping the globe — which has brought down movie moguls, actors, high-profile journalists, sports figures and politicians as women go public with long-suppressed complaints about sexual misconduct — has “all of us figuring out the transformations that we need to make in our workplaces, in our communities, in the environments that surround us to go to a place of ... work environments and life environments for everyone that are respectful and appropriate.’’
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an announcement regarding Canada’s commitment to the International Decade for People of African Descent, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, January 30, 2018.