Trudeau gropes for answers on harassment allegation
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?