A little over 24 hours after the allegations between Liberal MP Sherry Romanado and Conservative MP James Bezan ricocheted around the Hill, CTV got an exclusive interview with Romanado, and it’s eye-opening in how the accounts differ, particularly around the apology itself. In particular, Romanado disputes that Bezan had made attempts to apologize earlier – something she would have welcomed – and noted that she was blindsided by his public apology in the Commons on Monday morning considering that she was in her office when it happened, and only later made her statement to try to correct what she felt was wrong information.
The biggest takeaway from the interview (which I would encourage you to watch, despite the fact that it’s 20 minutes long) is the fact that in her estimation, Bezan broke the confidentiality of the mediation process by putting out his statement on Monday afternoon – something she respected up until that point, which is partially why she had been blindsided. She also notes that while others are accusing her of making a partisan issue out of it, she had plenty of opportunity to do so beforehand while she respected the confidentiality of the grievance process, and her “reward” for this affair is to be inundated with trolls over social media who have been replete with lewd suggestions about threesomes. As well, other MPs have come to her to recount their own experiences that they won’t come forward with.
There were a few other points of note in the interview – that what people will say was a bad joke felt to her like she was being undermined in front of stakeholders and treated like a sexual object, which made her job as parliamentary secretary harder to do. As well, she has been asked directly by young women who want to get involved in politics if they will be sexually harassed on the Hill, and she has told them unfortunately yes. There need to be conversations about what goes on and how to prevent it, but as this experience shows, it certainly appears that Bezan may have been engaging in some damage control that further sought to undermine Romanado, which is sadly the kind of cynical manoeuvres that happen here far too often.
Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt calls out those who would use sexual harassment allegations for political purposes, going back to the initial incident of those two Liberal MPs booted from caucus, while Robyn Urback argues that a bad joke is not really the same as the same kinds of allegations of sexual harassment that other women are coming forward about.
- The trade minister remained in Beijing at the last minute while Trudeau’s party carried on to Guangzhou. Apparently labour and gender rights were a sticking point.
- Trudeau, meanwhile, has been touting Canada as a good place to invest.
- Catherine McKenna says that while China is cancelling planned new coal plants, they are not ready to join the coal phase-out alliance.
- A group of Thalidomide Survivors claim that Kent Hehr made dismissive remarks about them; Hehr denied the allegations, but offered an apology that they accepted.
- Incoming Supreme Court of Canada justice Sheilah Martin faced a panel of MPs and senators to answer questions about her new position.
- The PBO says that the amendments to Bill S-3 on fixing sexist inequities in the Indian Act will cost seven times the what the bill was supposed to.
- Canada’s ambassador to the US says he’s mystified by the objections to the pre-clearance bill because it affords Canadians protections not available in the US.
- That French-Italian warship bid they appealed directly to the defence minister about? Was never submitted formally by the deadline. Questions persist.
- It looks like the plan to buy 18 interim Super Hornets is dead, and we will look for Australia’s cast-offs instead.
- Oh noes! The government is using time allocation on the Access to Information bill! Err, looking at the debate history, I’m pretty sure this use is not abusive.
- There remain objections to said bill by First Nations groups, which the government insists they’ve addressed after hearing the concerns.
- Debate has begun on Romeo Saganash’s bill to implement UNDRIP in Canadian law. The Conservatives raised a valid point that it’s a complex process with little debate.
- The Canadian War Museum bought a WWI Victoria Cross medal up for auction, but attention is now moving to another one sold earlier to someone out-of-country.
- Local MPs are being inundated with calls about Phoenix pay problems, and some want more resources to help them deal with the call volumes.
- BC has announced that their legalized marijuana plans include a minimum age of 19, and a mix of public and private retailers.
- Apparently the “long game” of the Conservatives’ strategy regarding Morneau is to repeat a lie long enough for people to believe it. So…it’s still Harper’s party?
- Here’s an interview with incoming Nova Scotia senator Mary Coyle.
- AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde is preparing his pitch for re-election, but some chiefs consider him too pro-pipeline (because he hasn’t outright condemned them).
- Justin Ling walks through the controversies about Bill Morneau and debunks the various allegations of wrongdoing using facts and logic.
- Paul Wells works out Trudeau’s trade strategy in China based on the results of the government’s consultations about what Canadian traders are looking for.
- My column looks at how the faux scandals that the Trudeau government is facing are all largely self-inflicted thanks to sanctimonious promises.
Odds and ends:
Kady O’Malley looks at what bills the government is trying to push before they rise for the Xmas break.
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) November 30, 2017