Toronto Star's View: Act quickly on misconduct...
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Nov 05, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Toronto Star's View: Act quickly on misconduct allegations against MPs

For the sake of fairness to all concerned allegations of misconduct against two Liberal MPs warrant a thorough and urgent investigation

OurWindsor.Ca

Canadians still struggling to absorb the startling allegations of abuse swirling around former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi are being further buffeted by claims of “personal misconduct” on Parliament Hill.

Two Liberal MPs — Scott Andrews of Newfoundland and Massimo Pacetti of Quebec — were expelled from the party’s caucus on Wednesday after two female New Democratic Party MPs described two different and unrelated episodes of supposed misconduct. Both men deny the accusations.

While no one has been found guilty of anything at this point, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau responded precisely the right way by suspending Pacetti and Andrews, who served as the party’s ethics critic, from his caucus.

“Those of us in positions of authority have a duty to act upon allegations of this nature,” Trudeau told reporters. While it’s important to be sensitive to all concerned, any actions undertaken “must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward.”

Indeed, it’s hard to see how Trudeau could have done otherwise in the wake of the Ghomeshi scandal and Canadians’ heightened sensitivity to allegations of workplace impropriety.

Neither Trudeau nor Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair identified the two NDP MPs who have stepped forward, and neither leader gave specifics about what has been alleged. Mulcair did note, however, that people deserve to be free of workplace “harassment.”

In the interest of fairness, it’s vital that this matter be investigated thoroughly and with all speed. If Andrews and Pacetti are innocent, as they claim, their reputations should not remain under a cloud any longer than necessary.

At the same time, the two MPs alleging misconduct also have a right to have their concerns fully addressed as urgently as possible.

Trudeau, to his credit, didn’t wasted time in bringing this forward. After concerns were raised by the complainants — one of whom met with him directly on Oct. 28 — Trudeau asked Liberal Whip Judy Foote to look into the matter. After interviewing all concerned, she sent a letter on Wednesday to Speaker Andrew Scheer requesting an independent investigation.

That, again, is the right way forward. There appears to be no precedent for dealing with allegations such as these, made by one Member of Parliament against another, and steps should be undertaken to fill that void with a fair and appropriate process.

Everyone, in every workplace, deserves that — especially those whose job is to represent all Canadians.

Toronto Star

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