, 06.07.2018 07:43 AM

Two tales of #MeToo

The first tale goes back six months.

In January, in the same week that CTV News unleashed its extraordinary story about former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown, a regular reader – one who had asked me to speak at a #MeToo rally in Edmonton – tweeted at me. This is what she tweeted:

I retweeted what she said. Within hours, hundreds of others retweeted or liked it, as well. It went viral.

The next day, as revelations about Patrick Brown‎ were still landing – and revelations about the just-dumped Nova Scotia PC leader, as well – Kent Hehr abruptly cancelled a funding announcement in Toronto. Shortly afterwards, Hehr was no longer in cabinet.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept him in caucus, however.  Which was odd, given that he had kicked out other Liberal MPs for similar offences.  An ostensibly arms-length investigation commenced into the various allegations against Hehr.

This week, that investigation – whose report the Prime Minister is keeping secret – concluded.  Kent Hehr would not be returning to cabinet.  Last night, however, Hehr started doing the media circuit, insisting that his actions were “clearly not” misconduct.  But his pitiful rationalizations didn’t matter: he was out of cabinet, for good.  My friend Kristin Raworth – because she has become a friend, and I am frankly in awe of her courage and strength – had been vindicated.

So that’s one #MeToo tale.  Here’s the other one.

The second one landed last night.  I was rushing to band practice and saw something had appeared in my inbox.  It was a newspaper clipping, from the Creston Valley Advance in B.C.  An editorial, dated August 14, 2000.

Here is the most important part:

Justin Trudeau “handled” a female reporter, and had apologized.  He wouldn’t have done it “if I had known you were reporting for a national paper.”  The newspaper editorialized about how he was wrong to have done what he did.

The former reporter’s name is known.  She still lives out West and is married now.  As far as I know, she doesn’t want to talk about what happened.

And that’s as it should be.  Kristin Raworth bravely chose to come forward in the Kent Hehr case, while the other female complainant chose to remain anonymous.  It’s their choice.  Same with the young reporter who Justin Trudeau “handled.”  They get to decide when and if to tell their story, not someone else.

But the two tales are related, aren’t they?  Certainly, one broke six months ago, and is about sexual harassment from a decade before that.  The other broke last night, and is about sexual harassment from 18 years earlier.  One case in Alberta, one in B.C.

But. But the two tales, appearing on the same day in June 2018, are connected.

If what Kent Hehr did resulted in him being considered unfit for cabinet, is Justin Trudeau similarly unfit?

Now, Justin Trudeau is busy at the G7, preoccupied with the utter failure of his Trump charm offensive – and, perhaps, the utter collapse of his political base in Ontario.  But when he gets back to Ottawa, you can reasonably expect he will be asked:

Why aren’t you facing the same fate Kent Hehr did? 

38 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Good question, and I’m sure it will be asked.

    But I don’t see anything in there that could be seen as sexual harassment. He could have said the same thing to any reporter of any gender. Without any other context it looks to me like he was just uncomfortable facing questioning by reporters, and made the cardinal sin of admitting answering the same question differently depending on the media. The reporter has every right not to speak about the incident, but that would clear up how she felt at the time.

    • Rob Bell says:

      You should read the whole article in the other post. There they make it clear that this was an unwanted sexual event. ‘Groping’.

    • Ian says:

      That would be the ‘groping a strange young woman’ part further down the column. His ‘apology’ was basically that he would not have groped her had he known she was on assignment from major media..

    • Sam says:

      If you read the whole column, it alleges that Trudeau “groped” the reporter in question. I doubt very much he would have groped a male, whether he was a reporter or not.

      Besides, what bearing at all is a persons profession in all this?

      I’ve heard whispers there is many more “incidents” like this with Trudeau, it will be most interesting if there is any truth to them and if anyone else comes forward.

      The whole handling of the Hehr affair is a joke, btw.

  2. Matt says:

    Blows my mind Hehr still thinks he did nothing wrong.

    Clearly the super secret sexual harassment workshop at the recent Liberal convention was all for show.

  3. Alan Smithee says:

    In light of the #MeToo movement and the increased scrutiny of candidates’ past written records (especially social media), how do you think the Bob Hunter incident from 2001 would have been handled in 2018?

  4. Rowena Basyien says:

    Based on his narcissistic mannerisms, if Trudeau apologized to anyone for anything, his actions must have been significant and public. As for his actions? – I believe his actions speak volumes more than his words. He is coached or scripted in saying the right thing but his actions, particularly from that long ago likely reflect his true character more than anything else. His apology in this referenced article reflects his concern for his reputation and not his actions. He hasn’t changed at all and never will.

  5. Pedant says:

    I think an incident at a beer festival 18 years ago will do very very limited damage.

    The damage will come when/if a similar story emerges from after he became an MP.

  6. Gyor says:

    That is a very good question and one I hope a reporter raises with him upon his return.

  7. Melanie Greenham-Burns says:

    Justin Trudeau is a two faced hypocrite.
    He groped a woman, claimed he wouldn’t have done that if he had known she was a reporter….
    So does that mean if she was a waitress, barista or real estate agent it would have been ok?
    Time to call him out on his BS Hypocrisy.
    #MeTooHypocrite #RespectBoundariesOfPersonalSpace #canpoli

  8. David Ray says:

    Your band practices?

  9. Another question: how come this didn’t come out when he was being vetted as a contender for the Papineau riding under Dion’s team? Or during the party leadership run?

  10. Jean Samson says:

    Justin has been known as a quite the hound on the hill, involving pretty people of both sexes for years. I hope the affected come forward soon, because his hypocracy makes me nauseous.

    • Roy Sinclair says:

      I think Warren knows more. Apparently young Parlamentary staffers, Pages & others are considered “fair game” on the Hill. Isn’t Trudeau the one who encouraged young people to get involved in campaigns for “politics, sex & pizza”? In my experience, where there is smoke there is a fire.

  11. barn E. rubble says:

    RE: “Why aren’t you facing the same fate Kent Hehr did? ”

    Good one. Better call Saul.

  12. Judy lott says:

    Thank you Warren for posting this. It is most definitely the same thing. Unfortunately the media will not report on this because it is “their star” Justin Trudeau. Can you imagine if we change the name from Trudeau to Scheer or god forbid Harper? It would have made the front page of most papers hard copy and on line by now.
    Trudeau is a hypocrite and must be called out on this one. I have a hunch there are more stories floating about regarding Trudeau.

  13. Peter says:

    I wonder, Warren – are there any connections between this story & your previous column about a “very, very powerful man” on the verge of being taken down?

  14. Roger Gladstone says:

    There are tales out of Whistler from the 90s that would make you puke. There are many people who know many things. The only thing keeping it lidded is shame, fear and embarrassment.

  15. Sean says:

    It’s a good thing for Trudeau that Butts bought a year’s supply of duct tape for pesky reporters.

  16. Ridiculosity says:

    I don’t give a rat doodle what Trudeau did 18 years ago – or who he did it with. Nor do I care what he did in Whistler. He was young and young people do things. Or have your forgotten? What I do care about is what he’s done since he became Prime Minister. And, I’m very happy with his performance thus far. Socks and all…

    • Matt says:

      HE WAS TWENTY FUCKING NINE.

      Nice to know you’ll overlook assault as long as the guy plays for your team.

      • Sam says:

        Agreed Matt – 19 *might* be considered as “young people” these days, and every generation it gets pushed higher a few years.

        But he was TWENTY NINE. By the time I was 29 I had long outgrown the drunken party trying to bang chicks circuit, had two of my five kids and my own business.

        So I call extreme bullshit on the ” He was young and young people do things” defense.

  17. Sam says:

    Peter – I was wondering the same..

    Roger G – I heard the same thing, tales that make a mere groping pale in comparison. But until someone comes forward, tales is all they are and all they should be treated as. If true, one can only imagine the damage control being done behind closed doors.

    Maybe this is why him and Trump seemed to hit it off initially..

  18. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    Crickets from the so-called “serious” media in Canada so far.

  19. Rick Davies says:

    Trudeau in no way apologised ..He said basically that his error was groping a woman in the national press.Not that he groped , just that he groped the wrong person

  20. Adam says:

    And because the majority of big media outlets in this country are in the Liberals’ pocket, it will take a long time for this story to show up in the news, and if it does it will be buried as deeply as possible so that the public don’t notice.

    I could not be more sick and tired of the double standards in this country’s media. If Liberal does anything, they basically get a free pass.

  21. Paul O says:

    Truly.

    Kent is a Hehr.

    Justin is a(n) Heir. With the Hair.

  22. Jim Keegan says:

    The Conservatives need to put this matter directly to Trudeau in the House during question period – at that point, the MSM will no longer be able to brush it under the carpet. I suspect this is what they are planning to do.

  23. Jason Pearson says:

    Didn’t he go on The House on CBC and say that the same rules apply to him as everyone else AND that how long ago the alleged incident occurred is is not relevant? Isn’t he our feminist PM eho said that in these matters women who cone forward must be heard and believed?

    Guess he should have included the proviso that: 1. The same rules apply to him, but, not really. 2. That how much time has passed matters when it was something he did 18 years ago. And 3. Women need to be believed, just not this woman.

    Come on CBC… where’s your story on this? How about you CTV? Is anyone in the MSM gonna cover this? Somehow I doubt it.

  24. JimmyO says:

    Given the amount of press and air time that similar events have consumed in the pass several months, it’s remarkable that the Canadian journalistic community has completely avoided the topic, save for Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun. Even CTV given their coverage of Patrick Brown is SILENT. The bias and hypocrisy of the MSM is disgusting.

  25. Grace says:

    I’m not sure how I found my way to the various stories about Trudeau and the anonymous editorialist from where I sit in the overheated, backward, racist, sexist American South. But I want to share my Me, Too perspective, as someone who can count at least 30 incidents of inappropriate professional and personal behavior by men, from suggestive remarks to rape.

    “Professional and personal” is a big point. Since men and women were created, men have been hitting on women in every way, and place, possible. Sometimes, their mostly-awkward advances succeed…millions of women have married co-workets, bosses, teachers etc. In those cases, the advances were welcomed…but they were still advances, which in 2018 many could claim “inappropriate” for a workplace or other situation. But we only seem to consider the unwanted, failed advances as social crimes or misbehavior. It’s romance if he is luckily accepted, career-ruining if not? This seems incredibly unfair, and even ridiculous–even to me, a Me, Too Victim.

    We need to work on the rules.

    I imagine Trudeau has a long history of making advances that were quite welcome (listen to the crowd in g-rated ‘stripping’ video), as well as receiving both welcome and unwelcome advances.

    So, with my personal experince with welcome and unwelcome advances, I can imagine the alleged reporter (“alleged” because I have seriously difficulty believing a “national” level wrote such a poorly written piece) incident really went something like this:

    They meet, NOT as professional to professional, not in a workplace, not as public figure, but 100% social context–a festival; that’s a very important distinction.

    Perhaps Trudeau started flirting–in a way that’s worked for him 1000 times–or perhaps SHE did. Or at least responded with signals that his advances were being received positively (what woman doesn’t like a little attention from a good-looking guy with social skills?) Maybe Trudeau interprets that as a green light–especially since his experience would lead him to believe that neing likely? So he makes another move.

    What is groping? It could be a hand lightly sliding down a woman’s side, barely brushing her chest…or it could be a Trumpian pussy-grab. Which occurred–if anything.?

    Also, was she happily accepting his attention up to that point, then suddenly changing her mind–perhaps suddenly remembering she is (allegedly) on assignment?

    Maybe he wasn’t really coming on to her, that she blew whatever she thinks happens, out of proportion?

    Maybe his alleged apology had nothing to do with sexual interest, but some other interest, (politics, a charity) he wanted to talk up, and she twisted words? The “…” in editorial may be a clue.

    Perhaps she was in fact the aggressor, and was spurned, so tried to get revenge?

    Or–given the jab she made at his father in the editorial–she was trying to set him up?

    I still have trouble believing a woman with poor writing skills was on assignment for national press–at a festival. Has anyone bothered to find corroboration on that–national stories on that event by female with ties to that little paper?

    Maybe she doesnt want to say more now because she realizes she made two mistakes–acting professionally inappropriately (accepting, maybe being, flirtatious), followed by an immature–abd poorly written–public airing/possible misrepresentation? Perhaps this is also why alleged witnesses don’t want to say anything.

    Besides the problems with the basic story, this singular alleged incident is different from, Hehr and Trump for several reasons:
    -Hehr had commited multiple offenses, and in his professional capacity
    -Trump also commited multiple offenses, many while in some sort of professional capacity, and while married, then BRAGGED about them–to a reporter, no less–in the most misogenistic manners possible, engaged in pay-offs, lied or otherwise excused the horrible behavior, etc., etc.

    Maybe there are whisperings of Trudeau’s antics that should be investigated–along with all the countless stories of WOMEN making inappropriate advances on him. (Yes, ladies, men can have their own me, too stories).

    Personally, I feel this woman has lost her right to privacy by trying to use the power of HER office–the press, and worse, an editorial (which, in my town would never allowed to be unsigned– nor would they even run it editorial that did not go with a new story but was a new story in itself)–to bring down a person, who, at that time, was a private citizen (being a PM’s son, or heading a grieving family’s charity, does not necessarily mske uou a public person), making it slander.

    Lots of ‘teaching moments’ in this.

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