, 12.14.2017 08:31 AM

I asked when #MeToo would hit Ottawa, and then it did

A few days ago, I wrote a column – which the Hill Times published, but HuffPo refused to, because they didn’t want to do anything that might identify the sexual harasser – about why #MeToo hadn’t hit Ottawa yet.  Because, God knows, there’s plenty of wrongdoing taking place up there, too.

Well, last night – as Justin Trudeau was about to speak at his annual Christmas party – this hit:

A staff member in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office is on leave from his position as deputy director of operations and a third-party investigation has been launched after allegations of inappropriate behaviour were made against him.

TVA, a French-language television network, first reported that Claude-Éric Gagné, the deputy director of operations in the PMO, is being investigated for inappropriate behaviour and has been on forced leave since early November while the investigation takes place.

The PMO is refusing to identify the staffer involved or provide any details of the allegations being made against them but a source confirmed to CBC News that the allegations are against Gagné and involve inappropriate behaviour.

So, there you go: the highest office in the land has apparently got this problem, too.

If you read on in the story, a PMO spokesperson says an “independent investigator” is looking into this.

Forgive me for being a lawyer and all that, but (a) we don’t know who the investigator is (b) we don’t know his or her mandate (c) we don’t know who is paying him or her and (d) we don’t know what powers the independent investigator actually has.  We need to.

A principle of natural law is that you cannot investigate yourself. For this probe to be meaningful, the independent investigator needs to truly investigate – and truly be independent.  That is particularly the case when the office being investigated has virtually unlimited power.

P.S. There were two men referred to in my column. Many people seemed to figure out who the journalist was. But I only heard from one person who knew who the other guy was.

7 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, so I understand the irony that what I’m about to post will probably be seen as partisan by some.

    If I’m not mistaken, in the past Justin Trudeau has said when a woman comes forward with allegations of having been the victim of harassment or inappropriate behavior, she must always be believed.

    So why does this guy still have a job in the PMO? Why the secrecy with the investigation that has apparently been ongoing since sometime in November?

    Maybe the “independant” investigator was appointed by the same committee that selected the new “independant” ethics commissioner that included Liberal House leader Bardish Chagger’s Chief of Staff, Treasury board prez Scott Brison’s Chief of Staff and Adam Carroll, the Liberal staffer fired for his Vicileaks website that publicly released details of at the tme Public Safety minister Vic Toews messy divorce.

    • Charlie says:

      You’ve got some selective memory there, Matt. I recall Trudeau acting pretty swiftly when two of his MPs were accused of some predatory behaviour. There was an investigation then, but it ultimately resulted in the ousting of those men. They weren’t the last ones, either.

      I don’t think the reaction to this instance is any bit out of line with what Trudeau has previously demonstrated.

      You’re concocting a criticism where there isn’t one to be made, yet.

      Calling out the irony doesn’t make it any less ironic.

      • Matt says:

        And Liberal MP Kang?

        Trudeau knew for months about allegations against him. Even as more women came forward with accusations, including one that said Kang offered her money to keep quite, Trudeau didn’t boot him from caucus.

        He did nothing about it for weeks. Kang eventually “stepped away” on his own

        Trudeau is very selective in his reaction to these situations.

        • Charlie says:

          You speak as if you had insights into that situation.

          No one ever “steps away” in a situation like this, and I can tell from personal knowledge, Kang was very much booted from caucus.

          But put that aside, here you are making this current situation entirely into partisan fodder with no other obvious objective than to set an impression you have of Trudeau/Liberals as being hypocritical or “very selective” on this issue. Whereas, the flimsy evidence you’ve put forward does nothing to demonstrate that Trudeau is acting in a way that isn’t in line with his expressed beliefs.

          Again, feigning some sort of conflicted honesty to make a point doesn’t take actually away from the fact that you’re still trying to steer the discussion into a place where, as you’ve stated, it shouldn’t go.

  2. Sean says:

    the process will be whatever G.B. scribbles on the back of a napkin. It will be based on yesterday morning’s polling data.

  3. P. Brenn says:

    dont care re partisanship…pigs are pigs …once accused ..suspend , investigate ..deal with appropriately

  4. Willie P says:

    Actually Warren, it’s been around for a long time in Ottawa already – http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/11/28/michel-gratton-parliament-sexual-harassment_n_6234410.html

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