NDP not prob­ing com­plaints about ex-MP

Ottawa Citizen - - CLASSIFIEDS - Lee Berthi­aume

OT­TAWA • The fed­eral NDP is not plan­ning an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how the party han­dled al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against for­mer MP Peter Stof­fer — at least not right now.

New Democrats have been look­ing in­ward af­ter sev­eral women who worked for the party came for­ward in re­cent days al­leg­ing Stof­fer acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward them, in­clud­ing reports of touch­ing and kiss­ing.

At least one told the Na­tional Post that her com­plaints were raised with se­nior party lead­ers af­ter two alleged in­ci­dents in 2006 and 2009, but that they were es­sen­tially ig­nored.

Stof­fer, who held a sub­ur­ban Hal­i­fax-area rid­ing from 1997 to 2015, has ac­knowl­edged some of his ac­tions may have caused dis­com­fort and has apol­o­gized for that. But he has de­nied sex­u­ally as­sault­ing or phys­i­cally abus­ing any­one.

NDP leader Jag­meet Singh has opened his door to any­one who wants to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, party spokes­woman Sarah An­drews said Mon­day, but there are no cur­rent plans to dive into the al­le­ga­tions against Stof­fer.

“I wouldn’t say an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been ab­so­lutely ruled out. As of now, one hasn’t been launched,” An­drews told The Canadian Press. “Cau­cus hasn’t had a chance to meet yet, so they’ll be meet­ing on Wed­nes­day. I imag­ine it will come up as a topic of con­ver­sa­tion. And we’re mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion. It might evolve.”

Singh re­cently launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of ha­rass­ment against cur­rent New Demo­crat MP Erin Weir, af­ter fel­low cau­cus col­league Chris­tine Moore said she had heard — but not per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced — con­cerns about ha­rass­ment raised by some fe­male staff.

Po­ten­tial com­plainants have been given un­til Feb. 20 to come for­ward with any spe­cific al­le­ga­tions. Weir has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

Fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer has also or­dered an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how for­mer MP Rick Dyk­stra was al­lowed to run as a can­di­date for the party in 2015 de­spite se­nior party of­fi­cials know­ing he had been ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault.

Dyk­stra has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, which have not been tested in court or in­de­pen­dently confirmed by The Canadian Press.

New Democrats say their party is fo­cused on strength­en­ing its anti-ha­rass­ment poli­cies in lieu of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and the is­sue will be a ma­jor fo­cus. for their bi­en­nial pol­icy con­ven­tion later this week.

AN­DREW VAUGHAN/ THE CANADIAN PRESS

The NDP is not plan­ning an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how it han­dled al­le­ga­tions about ex-MP Peter Stof­fer.

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