NDP launch investigation into MP Moore over allegations of inappropriate conduct
OTTAWA –The NDP are launching an investigation into MP Christine Moore over allegations of "inappropriate conduct," and have suspended her caucus duties as a result of recently-surfaced allegations stemming from an alleged sexual encounter with a veteran in 2013.
In a statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he takes the allegations "very seriously" and while she will remain in caucus, Moore’s additional responsibilities as an NDP MP such as committee participation, are being suspended pending the outcome of the third-party investigation. These actions from Singh mirror those taken towards newly-Independent MP Erin Weir, who was removed from caucus last week following an investigation prompted by second-hand allegations Moore raised. Prior to his ouster, Weir’s NDP caucus duties were suspended, pending the outcome of the third-party probe.
Her own investigation comes following reporting on an alleged sexual encounter Moore had with an injured veteran following his appearance at a House committee in 2013.
Glen Kirkland, who was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2008, testified at the House of Commons National Defence committee in June of 2013, about the care he received from the military as an injured Canadian Armed Forces corporal.
Reached by telephone, Kirkland told CTV News that following his emotional testimony, in which he discussed his experience, including his PTSD, the Quebec MP invited him back to her Parliament Hill office where she offered him a drink. He alleges that he told her that he wasn’t sure about consuming alcohol, noting the prescription medications he was taking for what he describes as "extensive" ongoing health issues. Kirkland said that Moore informed him that she was a nurse and continued to pour him drinks.
The two ended up back at his hotel room where Moore spent the night. He alleges that at a later date, Moore showed up to his home and sent him text messages that were explicit. He said he told her that he was not interested.
“There was very much more than non-verbal cues being given to her,” Kirkland said in an interview with Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play, referencing the phrase used to describe how Weir’s behavior was classified.
In an emailed statement, Moore, who before entering politics was a medical assistant in the reserves, said: "I welcome the opportunity to participate in the independent and fair examination of these allegations. Out of respect for the fairness and the integrity of the process, I will not be commenting further on these allegations at this point."
Since being elected to represent the western Quebec riding of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Moore has given birth to two daughters, and has become a proponent of making the House of Commons more family-friendly.
Kirkland told CTV News that he doesn’t equate his speaking out now with him coming forward, rather his account comes in response to media inquiries about what he classified as an encounter that was not a secret.
He is not alleging the encounter was nonconsensual, rather he said he felt Moore’s potential misuse of authority to pursue him and the "power imbalance" in the alleged encounter merited attention.
“I believe that Ms. Moore used her position of authority very inappropriately, and if the genders were reversed and I was a female who just did a big emotional testimony and if a male MP acted the way that she did, I really feel like this would be quite a bit different conversation,” Kirkland said on Power Play.
During the earlier telephone conversation with CTV News, he said that he found it "exceptionally ironic that she put herself in this moral, or ethical authority figure,”given her involvement with the Weir matter.
"I was following the Erin Weir case and you know, with this #MeToo and all this, but you know what it can go, the shoe can go on the other foot also," he said.
Kirkland said he has not been contacted about the Moore investigation.
In an email to caucus in late January, Moore alleged that women, including NDP employees, had complained to her about Weir’s behavior. While she did not experience the alleged behaviour personally, she said "given what’s going on right now in the political world," she didn’t feel comfortable with Weir’s then-bid for NDP caucus chair.
In early February, Singh launched the independent investigation, calling the allegation brought forward by Moore "troubling,” and vowed to pursue a "survivor-driven process."
Last week, Singh announced he was removing Weir from caucus because of Weir's decision to speak publicly about the third-party investigation launched against him and the allegations.
Speaking to the Moore investigation, NDP MP Nathan Cullen said Singh’s response was appropriate.
"The great strength of the #MeToo movement is it’s demanding and insisting upon change in the workplace for everybody and that people are treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their roles, regardless of their positions, so I think the advancement of having good, consistent policy, which is what the NDP is attempting to achieve here," he said.
Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan told reporters after the federal cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill Tuesday that there is "a duty" to believe what is being alleged, and said he will be keeping a “close eye” on the matter.
On Power Play, Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen said MPs have a "tremendous responsibility" as role models, and said all members of Parliament need to be mindful of their positions of power in their daily interactions.
With files from CTV News' Michel Boyer