, 06.24.2020 08:56 AM

My latest: when zero tolerance doesn’t mean zero

Zero tolerance. 

That’s what he said.  Those are the words he used. 

Justin Trudeau has said, many times, that he and his party have “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. 

As recently as 2018, he gave inspiring interviews to Canadian Press and CBC about the subject.  Here’s what he said. 

“We have no tolerance for this — we will not brush things under the rug, but we will take action on it immediately,” he declared to The Canadian Press, describing how his political party and government regard sexual harassment. 

He said the same sort of thing to CBC Radio in an interview around the same time.  There, the self-proclaimed Feminist Prime Minister proclaimed: “I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well.”

He respects your headspace, our Prime Minister does.  So, as if to emphasize the point, he noted he had earlier banished a pair of Liberal MPs for alleged sexual impropriety. 

In 2014, he expelled two MPs from the Liberal caucus — Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti — before he told them why.  An investigation came later, and it determined that Andrews had indeed engaged in harassing behaviour (groping and grinding), while Pacetti was found to have had having sex with someone (without explicit consent). 

So far so good.  We don’t need sexual creeps and crawlies in our lives.  We particularly don’t need them in Canadian public life.  Well done, Trudeau. 

And then, two years ago this week, this writer received a message from a female Member of Parliament.  One who really was a feminist, and one who had female friends in all of the political parties in the Hill. 

“Have you seen the story about Trudeau groping a reporter in BC?” she said.  “It happened years ago, but still.”

I had not, I told her.  The Liberal Party’s “zero tolerance” policy was a hot topic, that June, because of a controversy swirling around Liberal cabinet member Kent Hehr.  An Alberta woman, Kristin Raworth, had tweeted to me vague allegations of sexual impropriety by Hehr, who was and is a quadriplegic. 

Hehr properly removed himself from cabinet while an investigation was underway.  He later lost his Calgary seat in the 2019 election.  (Tellingly, perhaps, Raworth was later obliged to apologize, retract, and pay substantial damages for false allegations – “he hit his wife” – she made against this writer in March.)

But two years ago, the Kent Hehr story had made sexual harassment stories big news.  Me Too, too. 

And a Member of Parliament had just told me Justin Trudeau had groped a reporter in BC.  She had the article, she said.  She sent it to me. 

It was an editorial, unsigned, from the Creston Valley Advance.  It was easy to determine who the author was, but I would not name her (and have never named her).  I posted a screenshot of the editorial, the reporter’s name on the Advance’s masthead removed.  Apart from asking “what?” in the title of the post, I said nothing else. 

The editorial was titled “Open Eyes.”  The author stated that Trudeau had groped her, quote unquote, at a beer festival in 2000.  Trudeau had “inappropriately handled the reporter,” the editorial read, while she was in assignment for the Advance as well as the National Post. 

When confronted about his actions – which, in many other cases, would be regarded as a sexual assault – Trudeau offered an explanation, not a real apology.  “I’m sorry,“ he said.  “If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I would have never been so forward.”

Meaning: you’re fair game, woman, if you’re reporting for a small paper. 

When I posted the screenshot of the editorial, it went viral, as they say.  It became international news.  When Trudeau – now a Prime Minister – finally deigned to respond, he offered up an explanation that has since become an object of ridicule.  There hadn’t been a “negative interaction,” he said, although the editorial certainly suggested that was not the case. 

Said Trudeau about his victim: “Who knows where her mind was, and I fully respect her ability to experience something differently.”

Implying the victim had some unnamed mental instability, and declaring that she experienced sexual assault “differently” doesn’t sound terribly feminist, does it?  But Justin Trudeau survived the scandal.  He was re-elected. 

Two years later, the issue is back.  This time, a Liberal backbencher is facing assault, break and enter, and criminal harassment charges from 2015.  A woman is among the victims.

And Trudeau knew all about it.  The allegations were substantiated by an internal Liberal Party probe, the CBC revealed this week. 

But Trudeau let the backbencher run under his party’s banner anyway.  Trudeau signed the MP’s nomination papers.  

We could go on, but – by now – you get the point.  And the point is this. 

When Justin Trudeau said he had a “zero tolerance” policy, he didn’t actually mean there was “zero tolerance” for sexual misconduct. 

He meant there was literally zero that he wouldn’t tolerate.

14 Comments

  1. Des says:

    You’ll likely have to add my Liberal MP to the list of Independent MPs soon once the media reports the story they’re sitting on of him being a naughty fellow.

    • Max says:

      Des, given you are safe within the cloak of anonymity/confidentiality that social media provides, care to go waaaaaay out on a limb and name the “media”, province and how you came by this (non)information? Kinsella puts out a tom more AND attaches his name to it. C’mon big fella, enough with the faux intrigue. Do you have anything to add to this discourse at all?

      • Des says:

        The reason why I’m vague is because I don’t want to be the individual who’s responsible for spreading a claim that has/has not been given to the ethics commissioner. I have a feeling it’s not. I’ve submitted an ATIP, but I don’t know how far it will get.

        • Des says:

          If Warren has my IP address, he knows who it might be

        • Max says:

          Yeah, pretty much what I figured. Stay in your “safe space” Des.

          • Des says:

            I sure will Mr. Tolerant Liberal. I’ll give you a hint. I’m from the Maritimes. ACOA gives money to companies in the region, sometimes even for nothing without having to be repaid, under the veneer of “economic development”. I suggest you have a look at some of the Liberal MPs in the region, have a look at their personal relationships (some of them attempted, but failed, to be secret – whoops), and then connect them with ACOA funding. You’re welcome

          • This should be immediately drawn to the attention of the Minister…oh, right.

            Funny how some MPs think it’s a misprint and that the real name is The Atlantic Canada Political Opportunities Agency.

  2. Joseph says:

    “ That’s what he said. Those are the words he used”

    Uhm, his chosen field “part time” was teaching impressionable young minds to say things and make people actually believe what you said was true.

    If anyone at this point is still believes it’s plausible that this time he actually means it that would be cognitive dissonance.
    That was stated without malice by the way.

  3. Douglas W says:

    Mr Trudeau’s controversies vanish.

    Because POTUS takes back the news cycle the very next day with his outrageous antics.

    • Chris Sigvaldason says:

      Says a lot about the quality of Canada’s so-called mainstream media. The Kavannaugh (US Supreme Court) business had ten times the coverage of the Kokanee Grope.

  4. joe long says:

    Justin said, “I’ve been VERY, VERY careful ALL my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of peoples space and head space as well.”

    Then I guess he thoughtfully and respectfully dressed in blackface?

    Thoughtfully groped the reporter?

    Thoughtfully pressured Ms Wilson-Raybould on SNC?

    Thoughtfully lied about the Globe and Mail story on the above.

    Thoughtfully treated Ms Caesar-Chavannes?

    Thoughtfully lied about his past history to the Liberal party?

    Thoughtfully believed budgets balance themselves?

    It is becoming evident that this “actor” is out of touch with reality. He lives in his own make believe fantasy world.

    Zero tolerance? Justin doesn’t know what zero tolerance means. It’s just another line in a movie script for him to recite. Hypocrisy? How can an actor’s role be hypocritical? And he doesn’t lie, he’s just acting out lines in a script.

    Justin will call an election for early September.

  5. Walter says:

    Media spent 3 years telling that Trudeau was the greatest person every to grace this earth.
    No wonder people are having trouble believing all these (true) stories about him. They made the monster that can’t be stopped.

  6. joe long says:

    Today Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Hate has no place in our country and will not be tolerated.”

    But on June 24, Gerald Butts tweeted a map of the USA for Canadian Tourists saying “here’s a helpful guide”.

    This map describes some US states as; “Rape Central”, “White Congo”, “Whiter Congo”, “Brown Backistan”, “Redneck Germany” etc.

    https://twitter.com/Modster99/status/1276224674876149761

    Then Butts tweets about the map, “It is however very funny”

    When solids hit the air-conditioning, Mr Butts deletes his tweet saying he is “both sorry and mortified”

    Warren Kinsella nailed it when he said “He (Trudeau) meant there was literally zero that he wouldn’t tolerate.” Mr Butts’ tweets are yet another example.

    Given Mr Trudeau’s tweet “Hate has no place in our country and will not be tolerated,” why does Mr Butts still have any role in government, government panels, or advising the Prime Minister?

    But hey this is a Prime Minster who laughed as he said “thank you for your donation” to a First Nations protester who hoped to draw his attention to mercury contamination in the First Nation communities of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong during a Liberal fundraiser. The Liberal audience response? Laughter, cheering, and applause.

    Do Justin Trudeau and Gerald Butts have any shame? Apparently not.

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