NDP leader says investigation into MP Moore will follow same process that MP Weir called flawed
OTTAWA – Speaking for the first time since announcing he was suspending NDP MP Christine Moore’s caucus duties and launching an investigation into her alleged behaviour, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he plans to use the same process used to investigate allegations against now-former NDP MP Erin Weir.
"Anytime allegations are made aware to me, I've made it a responsibility of mine and a (commitment) of mine to listen to complaints when they come forward, and to take them seriously, to act," Singh told reporters following his weekly caucus meeting with NDP MPs on Parliament Hill.
“We will appoint an investigator, make that name available… and then let the investigation run its course,” Singh said.
The third-party investigation he launched via an emailed statement on Tuesday came after Moore was accused of inappropriate behaviour stemming from an alleged sexual encounter she had with a veteran in 2013.
Singh told reporters Wednesday that he was unaware of the alleged incident until it was reported on Tuesday, despite Kirkland claiming it was not a secret. He also said he couldn’t comment on the alleged power imbalance between Moore and Kirkland, saying he doesn’t know enough about the military culture.
In 2013, injured Afghanistan war veteran Glen Kirkland delivered an emotional testimony before the House of Commons National Defence Committee, which Moore was a member of. Following the meeting Kirkland alleges the Quebec MP invited him back to her Parliament Hill office where she offered him a drink.
Kirkland alleges that 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.
In an emailed statement, Moore said Tuesday that she welcomes an "independent and fair examination of these allegations," and said she would not be commenting further.
Though, Moore told CTV News on Wednesday in an email that she will have more to say soon, and alleges there is "nonsense" in Kirkland’s account, pointing to the transcript of Kirkland’s late afternoon testimony at the committee in which he discusses his health issues, and the House of Commons record of votes from that day that show she was present for several votes throughout the day, between 3:15 p.m. and 11:25 p.m.
Singh’s decision to suspend Moore’s additional duties pending the outcome of the third-party probe mirrors the actions he took towards newly-Independent MP Erin Weir. Weir was ultimately removed from caucus last week for speaking publicly about the investigation into him, prompted by second-hand allegations Moore raised about Weir. Prior to his ouster, Weir’s NDP caucus duties were suspended, pending the outcome of the third-party probe.
In an interview with CTV’s Question Period that aired May 6, Weir said he isn’t ruling out legal action against his former party after being ousted from the NDP caucus. Weir said that while he doesn’t think there was malice or any ill will on Singh’s part in setting up the independent investigation process, the federal NDP leader didn’t account for the potential for the investigation to be taken advantage of, and called it a flawed process.
Asked about how the NDP is handling these cases, and whether the process was flawed, Singh defended his decision to remove Weir, saying he finds it "unacceptable" to challenge the findings of the independent investigation.
He wouldn’t comment on whether he would be comfortable if Moore publicly defended herself before the investigation is complete, and denied this development impeached Moore’s credibility in speaking up against Weir months ago.
"I trust the independence of that process," Singh said.
NDP MPs that CTV News spoke with on Wednesday said they support Singh’s decisions and believe the process has been fair, and will be in the future.
"They’re really going to be under a microscope now as to whether Jagmeet Singh holds the same standards, the same process, and whether it meets the public sense of fairness," said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
With files from CTV News' Omar Sachedina