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?