Moncton: Justin Trudeau says he’s relieved that the House of Commons now has a formal process in place to deal with allegations of harassment such as those being levelled against one of his own MPs.
Calgary MP Darshan Kang says he’s on medical leave thanks to allegations that he repeatedly sexually harassed a young female staffer in his office, allegations he strenuously denies.
Trudeau has largely refused to comment while the new independent process runs its course.
It’s a change from what happened in 2014, when former Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti were accused of sexually harassing two female New Democrat MPs.
Trudeau suspended the pair from his caucus while an outside lawyer was brought in to investigate; the two resigned from caucus four months later.
Kang has not been suspended, and insists he plans to fight the charges.
Trudeau says he’s glad to have a way to deal with what he called “very important, very serious, also very delicate matters of harassment and other allegations.”
“This process, which wasn’t in place before, is now in place and it’s quite frankly a relief to everyone in that workplace that there is a clear and responsible process that can be undergone,” he told a news conference in Moncton.
Trudeau was asked why he hasn’t suspended Kang as he did Andrews and Pacetti, pending the outcome of the ongoing review, but he didn’t directly answer the question.
Under the new system, adopted in December 2014, an external investigator reviews the facts and interviews the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses before determining whether the complaint is partially or fully substantiated, not substantiated or frivolous.
Either the complainant or the respondent can appeal if they’re unsatisfied with the final report. In that event, an appeal panel is convened, consisting of one member chosen by the complainant, one by the respondent and an external expert.
Trudeau says he will wait for the process to conclude before making further comment.
“This is something that I think everyone knows that I personally and our government takes very seriously and we will make sure that the proper processes, which are finally in place, are properly followed.”