Misconduct allegations made against Canadian MPs
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s Liberal opposition party suspended two of its Members of Parliament after two female members from a rival party accused them of personal misconduct.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he removed Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews because their accusers, one of whom approached him personally, deserve the benefit of the doubt. Details of the accusations were not made public.
A Parliamentary source familiar with the matter said the accusers are Members of Parliament with the New Democratic Party. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The case in Parliament comes as misconduct in the workplace is garnering a lot of attention in Canada in the days since popular Canadian Broadcast Corp. radio host Jian Ghomeshi was fired amid multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations. That case has rocked Canada’s public broadcaster, and police are investigating.
Trudeau said Pacetti and Andrews are denying the allegations against them, which he would describe only as “serious” allegations of personal misconduct. Trudeau asked House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to investigate.
“We have a duty to protect and encourage individuals in these situations to come forward,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa. “The action must be fair, but decisive. It must be sensitive to all affected parties, but recognizing how difficult it is to do so, it must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward.”
Andrews, 39, said in a statement that he would fully cooperate and answer all questions from an independent third-party investigator.
“I am confident such a process will find that no harassment has occurred,” Andrews said.
Pacetti, 52, said he has not been provided with the specific details of the allegations that led to his suspension.
“House Speaker Andrew Scheer has been asked to conduct an independent investigation, with which I intend to cooperate fully, and which I am confident will exonerate me,” Pacetti said.
New Democratic Leader Tom Mulcair said he was “deeply saddened by these serious allegations.”
“Members of Parliament from all parties have to take these matters seriously,” Mulcair said. “Here on Parliament Hill and in any workplace, women have a right ?to be in a secure work environment. Everyone who works in these places has a right to be in a secure work environment free of harassment.”
Ottawa Police spokesman Chuck Benoit said they are not investigating and no one has complained.