Quebec Liberal MP Sherry Romanado told the House of Commons Monday afternoon that her Conservative colleague from Manitoba James Bezan made “humiliating” and “sexual” remarks.
Shortly after question period, the member for Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne rose to make her short statement: “In May, the member for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman publicly made inappropriate, humiliating and of a sexual nature to me. These comments caused me a lot of stress and hurt my work environment. ”
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense then sat down again. Asked to say more outside the House after question period, she refused to add any.
Excuses come … earlier in the day
In the morning, still in the Commons, MP Bezan stood up to make his own statement.
“Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, I made inappropriate remarks in the presence of the member for Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne. I have the greatest respect for this member and for Parliament, and I apologize sincerely. ”
Obviously, these excuses were not enough for Mrs. Romanado.
MP Bezan explains himself
In a statement released late afternoon, James Bezan offers his version of the facts.
“At an event at Ottawa City Hall on May 2, I was posing for a photo with the member and another individual. While posing for the photo, I made an inappropriate and flippant comment and said, “It’s not my idea of a threesome.” This was a partisan comment about appearing in a photo with a member of the Liberal caucus, “he said.
He goes on to explain that he wanted to apologize the next day, but he was not offered the opportunity.
On May 10, the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Government of Canada received a formal complaint from the member.
Mr. Bezan says he provided a written apology to the member during the inquiry process.
He claims to have been finally informed that a complaint of sexual harassment was not applicable in his case.
Later, with the agreement of the whips of both parties, he said he apologized “in person” to the hon. Member and received awareness training from the House of Commons.
“I also agreed to mediate with the member after the Chief Human Resources Officer delivered her report and, once again, I apologized to the member,” he concludes.
Sherry Romanado refuses to confirm or challenge this version
“I have nothing else to add,” the MP said as she stepped out of a parliamentary committee on Monday night as Liberal colleagues surrounded her to protect her from cameras and journalists’ questions. They insisted, asking her, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, whether she was questioning what Mr. Bezan said.
When asked why she did not want to speak, she was angry. “It has been seven incredibly difficult months. That’s why! She said, her face closed.
At the office of the Liberal whip, we were not more talkative. “This is an internal process that can not be commented on,” said Pablo Rodriguez’s chief of staff in an email to Canadian Press.
Andrew Scheer adds his grain of salt
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer responded with a news release.
He confirmed details of his MP’s version, recalling that he had apologized.
“In accordance with the House of Commons process, this complaint has been submitted to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). The CHRO confirmed in writing that his findings “do not support allegations of sexual harassment,” Scheer said.
The Conservative leader prefaced his statement by saying that “sexual harassment is not acceptable and such behavior is not tolerated in the Conservative caucus”.