11.26.2014 08:00 AM

Big vans outside the Moral High Ground this morning

…looks like the NDP is getting ready to move out.  I guess Tom Mulcair’s “very strong desire to keep this confidential” is no longer so “strong.”


I could go on for another half-hour or so, but I have to work.  You get the point, anyway.

The point being: on this mess, the NDP look awful.




  1. Jerry says:

    Not that I really want to wade into this, but isn’t handing someone a condom to have sex with you when you almost sort of want to have it somewhere near ‘no means yes’ consent? The man’s life has been ruined without appeal over this kind of moral ambiguity?

    • Gayle says:

      This would be why so many women do not want to come forward. Despite the fact the law places the onus on both parties to ensure there is consent that is freely given, people still question whether the victim’s actions implied consent and therefore place the blame on her (or him).

      Here is a quote from the headnote in the SCC decision in Ewanchuck where the court discusses consent:

      “The trier of fact may only come to one of two conclusions: the complainant either consented or did not. There is no third option. If the trier of fact accepts the complainant’s testimony that she did not consent, no matter how strongly her conduct may contradict that claim, the absence of consent is established and the third component of the actus reus of sexual assault is proven. No defence of implied consent to sexual assault exists in Canadian law. Here, the trial judge accepted the complainant’s testimony that she did not want the accused to touch her, but then treated her conduct as raising a reasonable doubt about consent, described by him as “implied consent”. This conclusion was an error.”

      This woman is saying she was raped. She told Trudeau she was raped. She and her colleague repeated their serious allegations to the party whips. No one forced either woman to do so, and I for one commend them for coming forward. However, it is unfortunate they did not seem to think this would snowball in the way it did. Trudeau had only one choice here and he made it. If he had done otherwise, and one or both of these men were actually guilty, what would happen if they did this to someone else on the Hill? Would the new victim be satisfied with any response that fell short of a public outing and suspension?

      (this is the second time I have posted this since I lost the first one. If it is a repeat please feel free to delete one of the posts)

      • Jerry says:

        Wow, I am so glad I am not young and out there anymore, sounds like you could have a written note from a woman and still get charged with rape.

        • Scotian says:


          No, all you have to do is actually ask explicitly if sex is what is wanted, get a yes answer, and if during the middle of the process either side says they changed their minds stop. Really hard to understand and do, hmmmm? NOT!!! I’ve been a very active person sexually for over three decades, and I have only once ever been accused of sexual assault, and that was quickly dismissed because I could show a consistent pattern of doing exactly as I just described, and it turned out the accuser in my case had personal reasons related to another lover wanting to harm me behind her claims. This is btw one of the rare examples of false allegation I have ever seen in my experiences stacked up against I’ve lost count of how many actual examples of real sexual assault, it was clearly the exception, not the norm for these things just to make absolutely sure no one tries to make it seem I am saying otherwise.

          So no Jerry, all it takes is being responsible, respectful, and accepting that people have the right to give consent and to withdraw consent at any point, and this applies to BOTH genders I might add. Active consent is the ONLY way to deal with sexual interactions, and I’ve been following this principle since I first started experimenting at the beginning of the 80s, so this is hardly something new as a concept, and I worked it out on my own with the teachings of my parents about being respectful to those I have sexual interactions with, and the teachings of my RC church telling me that all humans are equal and deserve equal respect.

          As to the MP in question, all giving the condom shows is her desire in protecting herself from STDs and unwanted pregnancy, it does not in itself have anything to do with consent. You can still try to minimize the damage done to you in an assault, and that is all one should reasonably take when someone alleging sexual assault provides the use of a condom, to make it into consent is to ignore that most basic rule, actually asking for positive consent/response instead of assuming it, as we all know the old cliche about assuming making an “ass” out of “u” and “me”, which is especially true in areas of sexual interaction.

          Your attitude represents one of the reasons why so many women prefer to not act rather than come forward in these situations.

          • Jerry says:

            Scotian Yes fine, that’s what I would do too, what I have always done, but the whole thing these days reeks of lines within lines within lines, which pretty much sums up all of modern life I guess, machinations instead of expressions, it’s the politics of power inverted, converted reverted and perverted, its all twists and turns and has an underbelly of malice, I never believed in the war between the sexes, now it appears to have become ambushes all around. It’s sado mascochism, it’s why I thought Jian Ghomeshi was doomed once he spilled that side of his beans and we saw his inner S&M dynamic spinning out of control, a spiral of victims and victimizers switching places fueled by brokenness and contempt, it’s all ugly and small and nasty. It’s the great lie of modernity, there is no freedom, only licence and licence makers and takers and breakers, and as an adult who struggled his way out of a sexually abused childhood trying to be a better person than the one I was bent into, I can’t stand the games being played, it’s all mind fuck and I hate it.

          • Gayle says:

            “the whole thing these days reeks of lines within lines within lines”

            It really doesn’t. It is quite simple. Ask her if she wants to have sex. The problem is not “mixed messages” sent by women. The problem is the failure of men to simply ask a simple question. This woman was sexually assaulted as a youth. One consequence of that is she may freeze and then comply when faced with another sexual attack. Did the man think he was attacking her? Maybe not, but then he also failed to ensure she was consenting. Why not ask this simple question? One reason may be that he was afraid of what the answer would be.

            Now all that is not to say I think it is fair of her to go to the media and set out these allegations anonymously. Either make them openly or do not make them. However, I think that if she were lying about this she probably would have left out the whole “I gave him a condom” thing. Why? Because people like you are going to think the fact she gave him a condom means she is lying.

  2. Michael Bussiere says:

    Why the hell did she hand him a condom? Why was she carrying one? To make balloon animals? This is becoming more and more absurd! It sounds like she conceded to a situation and then regretted it, and her reaction is to smear the person she became involved with. It is the worst kind of disgraceful personal and political behaviour.

    Q: what is exactly is entrapment?

    • Nicole says:

      Conceding to a bad situation once over-powered is not consent and it is exactly this kind of attitude that keeps women from reporting these incidents to the police.

      • jeff316 says:

        Exactly. This is exactly what shouldn’t have happened. All this shows is that if you’re an MP/MPP and are going to report something, you’ll become secondary to partisan politics, you’ll become the subject of a public spectacle, you’ll be identified against your wishes, you’ll be compelled to tell your story publicly, and then you’ll be open to ridicule.

        All the reasons why people don’t report this stuff.

        Don’t get me wrong – Trudeau pulled of a political masterstroke. But outside of the partisan considerations, which should be secondary, this has been a disaster for reporting harassment on the hill.

        • jeff316 says:

          To add, the biggest screw-up in all this is the second victim to brought the other’s allegation to Trudeau “along for the ride.” Absolutely inappropriate and unconscionable.

        • MississaugaPeter says:

          Yup, “political masterstroke”. Trudeau needs a few more of these!

          Preferred PM rating for Trudeau has gone down 5.5% (from 34.3% to 28.8%) in the past 4 weeks while Harper has gone up 3.3% (from 29.1% to 32.4%).


          Abacus and Forum also concur on the success of the “political masterstroke”.


          • MississaugaPeter says:

            Sorry Dan, if there was someone daft it is a Lemming, or someone in Denial.

            Do you even read before you respond?

            The Nanos polls are compared to previous Nanos polls. The Abacus polls are compared to previous Abacus polls. And even the ridiculous Forum polls, which almost always overstate Liberal support compared to actual election results, are put up against previous Forum polls.

            You are welcome to think in your delusional world that the past 4 weeks have been a great 4 weeks for Trudeau. But don’t go slinging insults because you are a Lemming or in Denial.

            Of course we should bow down to your feeling of what is happening on the ground and disregard the recent trends that the polls are revealing. We are all daft. The polls are daft. Everyone is daft. Except Dan. Who is completely predictable.

          • Gayle says:

            Hi Les

            Maybe you should try not to speak for the youth in Edmonton. I have yet to meet anyone who has turned from Trudeau over the ISIL position, though not everyone agrees with him.

            As for Strathcona, which is my riding, my guess is that it will go conservative because the Liberals for Linda thing is going to have less sway as liberals turn back to their own party and leave her hanging. If Trudeau were slumping Duncan would have it in the bag.

      • Michael Bussiere says:

        It’s not concession if she’s overpowered, and not fair ball to be talking anonymously to the press.

  3. sezme says:

    While I agree that the complainant’s interview with the CBC doesn’t exactly help her case in the court of public opinion, I don’t get that this is a party issue. Yes, you could argue that the NDP tried to make it one when they blamed Justin Trudeau for his reaction, but apart from that, this looks like just a messy private problem made public.

    Anyhow: no still means no, yes still means yes, and silence is still open to interpretation.

  4. Peter says:

    Who would have thought this would have gotten to the point where everybody comes off as a teenager at their first alcohol party. I’m sure the Speaker is thrilled beyond measure at the prospect of an inquiry into the significance of providing a condom less than wholeheartedly and whether grinding one’s pelvis and then leaving when asked violates parliamentary privilege. Is “c-ckteaser unparliamentary language everywhere or only on the Hill? What inspiring role models for us little people. How in the world could both Trudeau and Mulcair have allowed themselves to present as standard-bearers of principled virtue over these idiots?

    • Tiger says:

      This is a messy enough situation that I’m not willing to stand in judgment over Trudeau or Mulcair.

      That’s why this particular Tory took the opportunity to keep his mouth shut about that stuff.

      • Peter says:

        Oh, I don’t think partisanship is a big sub-text here. I’m sure there are plenty of Cons muttering “There but for the grace of God…”. But if these accounts are accurate, nobody but the most ideologically hidebound is going to think Andrews’s conduct merited a knee-jerk suspension without in any way condoning what he did or denying he should have been called to account. Pacetti is more ambiguous, but ambiguous means ambiguous and you don’t lose your career and public reputation over uninvestigated ambiguities. As to the complainants, what did they want to see happen and why is their anonymity such an important principle? “Re-victimized”? OK, we’re listening, but how about first establishing you were victimized.

        If the public good is to be advanced by taking harassment/abuse seriously and resolving to act on it, that objective is not going to be advanced by this kind of nonsense. The public isn’t going to be browbeaten into supporting draconian penalties for putative outrages they don’t see as outrageous at all and dismiss as sordid games played by the privileged. What irritates me profoundly is that, at the same time very serious shit is going down with Ghomeshi and Cosby, where accusations of real outrages causing real damage are going to be vetted, we’ may have an opportunity to do some real good and perhaps protect women in positions of vulnerability (which these two weren’t). This is just going to muddy the waters with stereotypical talk that will leave the public cynical about the whole subject.

        Slightly OT, note the common theme—alcohol. Some may insist on continuing the debate ignoring that, but the public won’t.

        • Gayle says:

          So you do not think sex without consent, otherwise known as rape, is serious?

          • Peter says:

            With respect, if you are going to respond to every concern raised about process, context, punishment, evidence etc. by just trying to blow them away with “soft on rape” accusations, all you will end up doing is promoting a deep public cynicism about the whole issue.

          • Gayle says:

            I was referring to your suggestion that an allegation of rape is not outrageous.

        • Tiger says:

          I think that alcohol absolutely is a factor, and the public will take that into account.

          But my point stands, I think, that the safer thing to do is to let things play out before trying to make sweeping conclusions.

          One may otherwise make a comment based on what one considers a reasonable implication that isn’t actually borne out by the facts at all…


          I do think that Ghomeshi and Cosby are changing public discourse about sexual assault. That’s a good thing, but we have to keep everyone’s rights in mind as we go forward.

          • Peter says:

            I would understand your cautious counsel more if there were some kind of proper investigation based on coherent allegations leading to a proper process going on, but there isn’t and that has become as much the story as what happened.

            I’m listening to Gayle more than she probably thinks I am, but every time these sorts of allegations arise there are two thorny issues that surface. The first is that sexual assault and even egregious harassment are serious matters for which we expect serious professional and even penal sanctions. If the M.P.s were just looking at hundred dollar fines, we could be far more relaxed about process, but we aren’t and don’t want to. A necessary corollary to that is a fair process and proper ability to defend oneself. One doesn’t need to have one iota of sympathy for these two or pooh-pooh the complainants to insist on that and speak out if it isn’t delivered before the alleged perps are consigned to some circle of Hell.

            The second issue is that everything hinges on the subjective minds of the complainants at the time. They make the difference between perfectly lawful, even welcome, acts and some of the more serious offences in the Criminal Code. In the bad old days, the law and public opinion looked to objective factors surrounding the circumstances or the histories of the complainants, which led to humiliating cross-examinations and fears of speaking out. All that was abolished, but one of the consequences is that it makes process all the more important in deciding credibility between two incompatible accounts. There is only so far we can go in preserving anonymity, sheltering complainants and trying the lessen their traumas before witch hunt appearances set in and the line between making allegations and proving them becomes hopelessly blurred.

            Then there is the issue of how the residents of the Hill seem to define a good time.

          • Gayle says:

            “The second issue is that everything hinges on the subjective minds of the complainants at the time. They make the difference between perfectly lawful, even welcome, acts and some of the more serious offences in the Criminal Code.”

            Well, yes, unless the parties both ensure there is consent. It is simple, and it is the law of this country. And that is the point really. It is the law, and she had a right to rely on that law. And instead of giving her that benefit, columnists and commenters both are condemning her because she gave the guy a condom. The context of her providing the condom has not been made clear. She admits she did not say no, but also that she did not say yes. She has to say yes. That is what the law says and that is what she is entitled to.

            Very simple.

          • Peter says:

            Reply to Gayle:

            Agree that she doesn’t need to “say no”. Disagree that she has to “say yes”. Both consent and lack of consent can be expressed through behaviour and other words. If you were right, there would be one heck of a lot of criminal sex going on.

            Shall we hear them all out as to what happened or just move straight to punishments?

          • Gayle says:

            Again, the law says he has to ensure there was consent. If she is telling the truth, he did not do so. He cannot assume consent by her actions. That does not mean all sex without the word “yes” is sexual assault, but it does mean that everyone who does not get express consent is putting themselves at risk of being convicted.

            There is only one sure way to ensure consent, and that is to ask.

          • Peter says:

            I agree. If her story holds, it’s an assault, condom or no condom. So here we go again, a step-by-step deconstruction of everything that went on in that room.

            Tell me, what role do you say the NDP complainants’ wishes should play in the Libs decision about a) how to proceed, and; b) what sanctions should be imposed if the complaints are upheld. You have called it a rape and it may have been. If that is established, should the Libs refer it to the police even if the complainant doesn’t want them to? Are you at all troubled by the fact that the complainant has gone to the press alleging a serious crime while at the same time saying she didn’t want anything more than a discrete dressing down and won’t cooperate with an investigation? Should a victim of a sexual assault have the power to in effect forgive it?

          • Gayle says:

            I disagree there needs to be a step by step deconstruction. Either the man obtained express consent or he did not. If she is telling the truth then he did not do so and is guilty of raping her. (I call it rape because she is alleging he had sex with her without her consent. What do you call that?)

            In answer to your questions, I already noted on a different thread above that I do not condone her actions going to the media. She should have either made her allegations formally or left it alone. This is very unfair since he is not in a position to defend himself. No doubt his lawyer is telling him not to say anything about the specific allegations since she may eventually change her mind and formally charge him. So he is left in limbo.

            The LPC cannot go to the police on her behalf. They will not lay charges without her statement. However, whatever internal steps Trudeau decides to take once he has received the complaint is his decision alone. It does not really matter what she wants, because he has a responsibility to his party, and to everyone else on the Hill, not just to her.

            What would you do if you were sexually assaulted by this man, and then you learned that Trudeau was aware of a previous allegation of rape and did nothing about it? Would you be satisfied with his defence of “she did not want me to do anything”?. Because I can tell you that I highly doubt that would satisfy someone who was also victimized.

          • Peter says:

            What would you do if you were sexually assaulted by this man, and then you learned that Trudeau was aware of a previous allegation of rape and did nothing about it?

            Why would I be any more upset about that than by the NDP or even the complainant not doing anything? Don’t they have a duty to everyone else on the Hill too? He’s the party leader, not his parent or parole officer. And as you have agreed he can’t go to the police, just what could Trudeau do to make me or the public safer? Are you hoping Trudeau is somehow going to publically “brand” him?

          • Gayle says:

            Except the Mulcair is not his boss.

            If someone told me a member of my staff did something to harm them, I would have to take steps to protect my other employees and other people with whom my staff member has contact as part of the terms of his employment from being victimized. It would not be up to the person who make the complaint, or his or her boss, to do so.

            In this scenario there is no reason to be upset with the complainant since she went to his boss and made her complaint. She did do something, and at some personal cost given how she has been vilified by the media since she did so. Why would you be upset with her?

          • Peter says:

            Trudeau isn’t his boss either and there is no contract of employment. If he were, why is he trying to hand it over to the Speaker? If you insist on running with that analogy, I hope you aren’t going to suggest employers have an obligation to conduct amateur criminal investigations and then warn off everybody else publically about the results. Anyway, I’m no more upset with her than with anyone else in this saga. Frankly, I’m getting the impression nobody wants to actually do anything, but everybody wants to look like they are.

            BTW, I think you are being simplistic about “express consent”. The issue is whether she consented, full stop. How she conveyed her consent comes into play only when the accused claims he was entitled to infer her consent from her words or behaviour, whatever was actually going on in her mind. I assume you aren’t suggesting consensual sex is somehow tainted legally if the consent wasn’t expressed in a particular way? It’s not like a consumer contract that can be voided if the proper formalities aren’t observed.

            Good debating with you. Cheers.

          • Gayle says:

            If Trudeau is not his boss, then how does he have the authority to suspend him from caucus? Employers would have the obligation to have an investigation done, but that does not mean they do the investigating. Trudeau referred this to a third party for investigation.

            As for your comments on consent, you are wrong. The law in Canada says both parties have to consent. No one is entitled to infer consent from actions, notwithstanding what is going on in the other party’s head. The only issue is what was going on in the other party’s mind.

  5. Low Noon says:

    So I guess in Warren Kinsella’s moral universe #BeenRapedNeverReported doesn’t apply if the perp is a Liberal MP.

  6. davie says:

    Just caught a statement by NDP MP Jamie Nicholls…pretty good start from that direction…now…put this all into some kind of restorative justice process…it could be done by Friday.

    …unless, of course, there are political point to be won, or media advertising to sell, by continuing to try to corner 4 MP’s…and their families.

  7. No wonder Trudeau dumped them from his caucus. This is absolutely not the sort of behaviour he wants associated with the LPC, and rightly so. The complainant interviewed here, the MP who approached Trudeau initially, is a long way off from looking sufficiently competent or worldly to adequately represent her constituents as an opposition MP either. A rather sad spectacle.

  8. Tim Sullivan says:

    It turns out NDP Deputy Leader Megan Leslie was less than truthful about Thomas Mulcair’s knowledge of the Pacetti allegation.

    So the MP went to Trudeau, bypassing Pacetti, her whip and her leader, and Leslie is speaking of things she knows nothing about.

    • reader says:

      What exactly did Megan Leslie say about Mulcair’s knowledge?

      There seems to have been conflicting statements about Mulcair’s knowledge, but I think the one that has emerged and stuck is that he knew about one and not the other, that is he did not know about the Pacetti allegation until the recent meeting with the two party whips present. Is that in line with Leslie’s statements?

  9. Kevin T. says:

    Beneath the surface, I think it also gives a glimpse of half the electorate’s feelings towards a certain candidate, and that may be a huge factor in the next election. The female MP in question, from an opposing party, only felt comfortable to open up and talk about her experience to Justin Trudeau first about this, not even her own leader; if she had not had that chance, chances are this would still be two alleged burdens carried silently.

  10. L. Passamagao says:

    There are only two possible meta-narratives:

    1. The non-consenting narrative e.g. “This woman is saying she was raped. She told Trudeau she was raped” (Gayle). In this scenario you have a Liberal MP who is a rapist and by extension, an adulterer, sexual deviant, with a thick gloss of brutish boozer. Nor do the NDP have the fortitude to try to put someone who they say is a serious criminal behind bars. What does it mean when law-makers won’t enforce the law? This borders on misprision of treason.

    2. The consenting narrative i.e. an NDP MP was happy enough to go back to the hotel room of a married Liberal MP and have sex with him. While the enlightened NDP crowd will no doubt howl “slut-shaming” much of the Canadian population will gravitate towards “homewrecker”.

    Either way, or worse, a combination of the two i.e. perhaps there were episodes of consenting sex before the non-consenting sex (these grubby little affairs often go that way), the picture painted, the narrative, is one of two ostensibly progressive parties blighted with alcoholism, (drugs?), debauchery into the wee hours culminating in rough and degrading sex a la Jian Ghomeshi.

    It pains to say this, but somewhere last night, Jason Kenney finished his warm milk, said his rosary, and slept the sleep of the untroubled. Stephen Harper, burning the midnight oil, took a small glass of Pepsi and gazed out over the frozen fields and whispered, “my God, I’ve got traction again.”

  11. Jerry says:

    does that mean something Sooey Sue?

  12. doconnor says:

    It’s a linkback to a blog to referenced this blog. You can click on the “Dear Jerry – Sooey Says”.

  13. Jerry says:

    thanks, went over there, rather nasty things are being said about me that seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with who I am, but I made a comment, we’ll see if it gets posted.

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