lib­eral MP of­fered woman $100K to keep quiet about sex­ual ha­rass­ment claim, fa­ther al­leges

The Miracle - - Politics - By ALEX BALLINGALLOt­tawa Bureau www.thes­

The fa­ther of a 24-year-old woman who worked for Cal­gary Lib­eral MP Dar­shan Kang said Kang of­fered a se­ries of pay­ments to pre­vent her from shar­ing ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions with her par­ents. OT­TAWA—A Lib­eral MP ac­cused of sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing a young fe­male staffer of­fered to pay her $100,000 to stay quiet about her al­le­ga­tions, the woman’s fa­ther says. The fa­ther out­lined his daugh­ter’s al­le­ga­tions against Dar­shan Kang, an MP from Cal­gary, dur­ing an in­ter­view Mon­day with the Star. He spoke on con­di­tion that their names not be pub­lished. He said over a pe­riod of four to five years, Kang gave his daugh­ter un­wel­come hugs, held and stroked her hand dur­ing car rides, and once brought her in a taxi to an Ot­tawa apart­ment, where he al­legedly of­fered her wine and pulled at her jacket to try to get her to take it off. The next day he fol­lowed her to her ho­tel and tried to get into her room to talk, the woman’s fa­ther al­leged. He said that Kang sub­se­quently of­fered her a se­ries of pay­ments, which es­ca­lated to a to­tal of $100,000, to pre­vent her from shar­ing the al­le­ga­tions with her par­ents. Kang did not re­spond to mul­ti­ple re­quests for com­ment on Mon­day. None of the al­le­ga­tions has been proven. The Star also con­tacted the al­leged vic­tim, who is 24 and worked in Kang’s con­stituency of­fice in Cal­gary. She de­clined to speak on the record with­out con­sult­ing her lawyer. “She’s very, very up­set,” her fa­ther said. “She has so much … on her brain and she can­not sleep at night.” The Hill Times re­ported on Aug. 11 that Kang was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the House of Com­mons hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer, Pierre Par­ent, over al­leged sex­ual ha­rass­ment. Charles-Eric Lépine, chief of staff to Lib­eral gov­ern­ment whip Pablo Ro­driguez, con­firmed that al­le­ga­tions have been made, but also de­clined to an­swer ques­tions. “We were made aware of the al­le­ga­tions and re­ferred them, as per the House of Com­mons process, to the chief hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer,” he said in an email on Mon­day. It is not clear if Lépine was re­fer­ring to the al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, the al­leged of­fers of money, or both. A spokesper­son from Par­ent’s of­fice also re­fused to con­firm or deny any on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion when con­tacted by the Star. Speak­ing to re­porters Mon­day, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said his gov­ern­ment has cre­ated new pro­cesses to deal with mis­con­duct and ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. “I can as­sure peo­ple that our whip’s of­fice and the hu­man re­sources of the Par­lia­ment of Canada are en­gaged, as they must be, in this process, and I have no fur­ther com­ment to make at this time on the in­de­pen­dent process that is be­ing un­der­gone,” he said. Kang worked in real es­tate be­fore he was elected to the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture for the first time in 2008. The woman joined his staff when she was about 20, her fa­ther said. The woman stayed in her job af­ter Kang suc­cess­fully tran­si­tioned to fed­eral pol­i­tics by win­ning the rid­ing of Cal­gary Skyview for the Lib­er­als in the 2015 elec­tion. Her fa­ther called Kang “a good friend” and said they spoke sev­eral times a week by phone un­til his daugh­ter came for­ward with her al­le­ga­tions. He also helped Kang dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paigns, he said. He said that he and his wife were puz­zled when their daugh­ter told them “two or three times” that she wanted to quit her job with Kang. They didn’t hear their daugh­ter’s al­le­ga­tions un­til af­ter she trav­elled to Ot­tawa on June 11 to work for a week on Par­lia­ment Hill. The woman’s fa­ther said that, one night dur­ing that week in Ot­tawa, Kang of­fered to take the young staffer to din­ner in a taxi, but they wound up go­ing to an apart­ment in­stead. Once in­side, Kang al­legedly held her hand “and said, ‘Oh your hand is very nice, your nail pol­ish is real nice. From where did you get this nail pol­ish?’” the woman’s fa­ther said. Kang then of­fered her wine and tried to re­move her jacket, the fa­ther said. “He (started) pulling her jacket — ‘ Take the jacket off, take the jacket off,’” he al­leged. The next day, Kang fol­lowed her to her ho­tel from Par­lia­ment Hill and tried to “force open the door” of her room so they could talk, the woman’s fa­ther said. Af­ter re­turn­ing home and speak­ing with her sis­ter, the woman de­cided to in­form her boss in Kang’s of­fice of the al­leged ha­rass­ment, her fa­ther said. That’s when he fi­nally learned his daugh­ter’s story — in­clud­ing the re­peated of­fers of money for her to stay quiet, which he said started at $5,000 and grew to a se­ries of pay­ments to­talling $100,000 that be­gan with a $30,000 up­front sum. Days later, Hamil­ton Lib­eral MP Filom­ena Tassi flew to Cal­gary to in­ter­view his daugh­ter and speak with them at their fam­ily home, he said. Tassi did not re­spond to an in­ter­view re­quest from the Star on Mon­day. The woman’s fa­ther said he wants Kang to “pub­licly apol­o­gize” and re­sign from of­fice. He said he will wait for any par­lia­men­tary probe to con­clude be­fore his fam­ily con­sid­ers le­gal ac­tion. Trudeau has dis­played a zero tol­er­ance pol­icy for ha­rass­ment. In March 2015, when he was leader of the third-place Lib­er­als, Trudeau booted two MPs from cau­cus over al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct from two fe­male New Demo­crat MPs. For­mer fish­eries min­is­ter Hunter Tootoo was also blocked from re­turn­ing to cau­cus last year af­ter he re­signed from cabi­net to en­ter treat­ment for al­co­holism. It was later revealed that he was in a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a young fe­male staffer.

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