MP just ‘jovial’
Embattled Scott Andrews won’t admit or deny sexual misconduct allegations; says he’s learned how his ‘jovial Newfoundland friendliness’ can be perceived
Responding to a string of yes-or-no questions from the media Thursday afternoon, Scott Andrews seemed to be avoiding the words “yes” and “no.”
The Avalon MP invited the media to his Conception Bay South constituency office to address the buzz over the comple- tion of an independent investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against him and former Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti. Based on that report, Andrews has been banished from the federal Liberal caucus.
According to reports, Andrews is accused of following an NDP MP home, forcibly entering her apartment, groping her and grinding his pelvis on her, leaving when she told him to and verbally harassing her later, calling her a “c*ckteaser.”
In his opening remarks to media Thursday, Andrews said he fully accepts the content of the executive summary of the investigation, which was conducted by human rights lawyer Cynthia Petersen.
He didn’t deny the allegations, nor did he admit to any- thing.
“I have learned a lot about myself in the past few months, particularly how my jovial Newfoundland friendliness can be perceived,” he said.
“I’ve learned a great deal on the importance of personal space, diversity and the understanding of feelings of others,” he said.
When the floor opened for questions, many of his answers were vague.
Is he going to run in the next election?
“We’ll cross that bridge in the coming weeks, months ahead.”
Does he feel he did anything wrong?
“I feel confidentiality is so important, and I’m not going to make comment on that.” Did he do it? “I’ve witnessed the worst side of politics in the last 24 hours, in the last six months. And I’ve learned that I don’t have it in me to be mean-spirited, so I don’t, I’m not going to respond to any of that, because I don’t want to be mean-spirited and get into the details.”
Does he feel he was treated fairly?
“The process has been very frustrating. I’ve said that, and it’s been troublesome to me. But I’m not a mean-spirited person and this is not intending to be a witch hunt.”
Did he do something that may have been misconstrued as being inappropriate?
“My friends, family and the people who know me will decide on if I’m innocent or not.”
Andrews, who received a copy of the executive summary Thursday, said he’d have no issue with the findings being made public — although he said it’s not his place to divulge what is in it. He repeatedly spoke of the importance of confidentiality.
He said the events of recent months have taken a toll on his family, and he just wants it to be over.
“It has been very difficult. My wife has been beside me throughout this process — many sleepless nights, many early mornings, many discussions, many scenarios have gone through our process thinking. But at one point you come to peace with what you have to say, and who you’re going to say it to, and we have.”
Andrews, who has been sitting as an independent MP since being suspended from the Liberal caucus last fall over the allegations, said he has no plans to try to rejoin the Liberal caucus. For now, he plans to continue working as an independent, and what his future holds is a decision his family will come to together, he said.
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau issued a statement Thursday acknowledging the receipt of the executive summary.
“I accept the decisions of Mr. Massimo Pacetti and Mr. Scott Andrews to sit as Independent Members of Parliament and to not seek the Liberal nominations in their respective ridings. As such, I consider this matter closed,” he said.
Former Avalon Liberal MP Scott Andrews leaves a news conference Thursday where he spoke to reporters about sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Former Liberal MP Scott Andrews speaks to reporters Thursday.