Trudeau’s groping allegation

by André Marin

Trudeau’s groping allegation

by André Marin

by André Marin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have been slightly ahead of his time when he declared himself a feminist in 2015. The #MeToo movement spread virally in 2017. Trudeau didn’t stop with that proclamation, he politically exploited the #MeToo wave saying women must be supported and believed.

As a former assistant Crown attorney I have prosecuted my fair share of sexual assault charges. I saw the #MeToo movement brewing for decades. The Criminal Code and the court system have long unfairly treated victims of sexual assault. For example, before the 1980s the Crown needed to produce corroboration in sexual assault prosecutions. In other words, you couldn’t successfully prosecute solely based on the complainant’s evidence.

There are many other instances of our criminal justice system unfairly treating women. For example, who can forget the “knees together” judge berating a sexual assault victim.
Complainants of sexual assault must, of course, be supported and deserve a thorough investigation. They need to be considered of good faith but believing them at 100% from the get-go takes away the accused’s presumption of innocence. A rigorous investigation and charges should be laid if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe a sexual assault occurred, in the language of the Criminal Code.

The current #MeToo rebellion was in the making for decades but the pendulum has swung too far where mere allegations are too often taken as proof that a crime has taken place.

Which brings us back to Trudeau. In a January 2018 interview with CBC he said: “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. This is something that I’m not new to. I’ve been working on issues around sexual assault for over 25 years.”

Trudeau has proven ruthless in dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct among Liberals, even minor ones, adding that if sexual allegations came to light against him, he’d apply the same standards.

Calgary MP Kent Hehr was made to resign from cabinet for describing an Alberta MLA a decade ago as “yummy.” Another woman alleged he touched her “inappropriately,” while he maintains it was “unintentional.” The Prime Minister’s Office ordered a report into the complaints. The findings remain secret.

Though much more serious allegations have emerged against Trudeau, they haven’t been exactly dealt with according to those same standards, as he promised. Au contraire.

An incident now known as the Kokanee Grope has garnered international attention. According to a paper called the Creston Valley Advance in British Columbia, Trudeau in 2000, then 28 years old allegedly “inappropriately handled” one of its reporters who wrote an editorial about the event. Disclosed in the main stream media a few weeks ago, he remained silent only to fess up to the event saying he remembers the day and no “negative interaction” happened. No story here, move on.

Then last Thursday more information was provided by Trudeau. He appeared to acknowledge the grope and that he apologized for it but added “often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently.” He rejected the need for an investigation.

Trudeau’s latest meanderings raise more questions than they answer. A non-consensual grope is beyond sexual harassment. It’s sexual assault. Trudeau has hoisted himself on his own petard by closing the door on an investigation. And despite his earlier undertaking to treat himself the same way he’d treat sexual misconduct allegations against him, that certainly didn’t happen.

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