Trudeau gropes for an­swers on ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tion

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - COMMENT -

Dear Prime Min­is­ter. Help us un­der­stand what to make of an 18-year-old claim ac­cus­ing you of in­ap­pro­pri­ately “han­dling” and “grop­ing" a young woman. The com­plainant at the time was a small­town re­porter work­ing for the Cre­ston Val­ley Ad­vance and cov­er­ing the Koka­nee Sum­mit fes­ti­val you at­tended in Au­gust 2000 in B.C. In an un­signed ed­i­to­rial, we now know thanks to the Na­tional Post was writ­ten by the same young woman, you were called to task for in­ap­pro­pri­ately “han­dling” her. “It’s not a rare in­ci­dent to have a young re­porter es­pe­cially a fe­male who is work­ing for a small com­mu­nity news­pa­per be con­sid­ered an un­der­ling to their 'more pre­dom­i­nant’ as­so­ciates and bla­tantly dis­re­spected be­cause of it,” she wrote in an ed­i­to­rial ti­tled “Open eyes”. “But shouldn’t the son of the for­mer prime min­is­ter be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public so­cial­iz­ing?” the ed­i­to­rial con­tin­ued. “Didn’t he learn through his vast ex­pe­ri­ences in public life that grop­ing a strange young woman isn’t in the hand­book of proper eti­quette, re­gard­less of who she is, what her busi­ness is or where they are?” The ed­i­to­rial also doc­u­mented an apol­ogy, of sorts, from Trudeau to the young woman. “I’m sorry. If I had known you were re­port­ing for a na­tional paper, I would never have been so for­ward,” the ed­i­to­rial re­ported Trudeau say­ing to her. Fri­day, the for­mer jour­nal­ist is­sued her first public state­ment since that ed­i­to­rial ap­peared. "The in­ci­dent re­ferred to in the ed­i­to­rial did oc­cur, as re­ported,” she said. “Mr. Trudeau did apol­o­gize the next day. I did not pur­sue the in­ci­dent at the time and will not be pur­su­ing the in­ci­dent fur­ther.” Here’s what we don’t quite un­der­stand Prime Min­is­ter. Your of­fice first in­di­cated you did not re­call “any neg­a­tive in­ter­ac­tions” about the en­counter. Then this week you said: “I’ve been re­flect­ing very care­fully on what I re­mem­ber from that in­ci­dent al­most 20 years ago. I do not feel that I acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately in any way. But I re­spect the fact that some­one else might have ex­pe­ri­enced that dif­fer­ently.” Both the pub­lisher of the Ad­vance and edi­tor there at the time con­firm the woman re­ported the in­ci­dent and called your re­sponse this week “tap-danc­ing.” So we’re cu­ri­ous. Who, ex­actly, is re­mem­ber­ing things dif­fer­ently?

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