Liberal Cabinet Minister Resigns from Trudeau Cabinet Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

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Liberal Cabinet Minister Resigns from Trudeau Cabinet Over Sexual Harassment Allegations
alan smithee alan smithee's picture

If the Ontario PC's can survive the resignation in disgrace of the party's Leader,Patrick Brown,the Liberals will survive the resignation of this minister the Canadian public never heard of.

Big deal.

quizzical

hey alan it's not about the party it's about the systemic abuse women have to put up with from men in positions of power.

shilling for the liberals on this actually makes it worse for them btw.

Rev Pesky

From the posted article:

Late on Wednesday, Alberta public servant Kristin Raworth raised allegations on Twitter about Mr. Hehr's conduct around women during his time in the Alberta legislature. Her comments came after Conservative party leaders in Ontario and Nova Scotia were hit with separate allegations of harassment and resigned their positions.

Ms. Raworth said Mr. Hehr's conduct would be a test of Mr. Trudeau's leadership on the issue.

"I was told to avoid being in [an] elevator with Kent Hehr. He would make comments. He would make you feel unsafe," said Ms. Raworth.

"He is now a federal cabinet minister. In the government of a man who claims to believe in gender equality. So let's test that @JustinTrudeau. I'm not alone in my experience and I know so many women have experienced this. So get rid of him."In a statement posted Thursday to Facebook after Mr. Hehr's resignation, Ms. Raworth said her experience reflects that of many women in the political world.

Note that Ms. Raworth had no 'experience' of her own re: Mr. Hehr's behaviour. What she offers is a hearsay statement that one should avoid being on an elevator with Mr. Hehr.

Since Hehr announced his move from provincial to federal politics in July of 2014, I ask myself, why would someone wait for three years before bringing forward allegations which could have just as easily been brought forward three years ago. Before, for instance, Hehr had run for, and won, the Liberal nomination for the federal seat Calgary Centre.

And what were these unnamed women afraid of? That Hehr would jump up out of his wheelchair and make a grab at them? 

Some info on Hehr on Wikipedia:

In 2014 Hehr proposed a private member's bill into the Alberta Legislature that would urge public schools to support students who wished to create gay-straight alliances. The bill, while supported by the Liberals, Alberta NDP and some Progressive Conservatives, was voted down by a majority of PC and Wildrose MLAs in April.

Six months later Laurie Blakeman brought a private members bill forward which essentially adopted Hehr's motion...

... Ultimately the PCs brought in a reformed bill that effectively allowed Gay-Straight Alliances in all schools throughout the province.

Further, because of Hehr and Blakeman's work, the PCs in their bill also reversed Section 11.1 of the Human Rights Act which was brought in 2008 by then Premier Ed Stelmach. Sec.11.1 was seen by the LGBTQ community as an affront to their personal dignity.

I know that Hehr's support for reasonably progressive legislation doesn't mean he didn't make females in elevators feel uncomfortable, but it does seem a bit odd.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

quizzical wrote:
hey alan it's not about the party it's about the systemic abuse women have to put up with from men in positions of power. shilling for the liberals on this actually makes it worse for them btw.

 I'm not shilling for the Liberals I was stating a fact and and the suspicious timing of these allegations Some things you have to take with a grain of salt.  Patrick Brown was forced to resign as PC leader just a day or so ago and now the Nova Scotia PC leader is accused of the same thing. And here is a Conservative coming out of the wood work to accuse a Liberal. The timing is suspicious. I'm sorry.

This appears to be more about politics than the systemic abuse of women.

But if he is guilty of these allegations he should resign immediately just like Brown who is blatantly guilty since he resigned without a fight or denial.

I know that if I was accused of anything and I knew I was completely innocent and the allegations were false,I'd fight it tooth and nail. The fact Brown didn't confirms his guilt.

 

quizzical
alan smithee alan smithee's picture

quizzical wrote:
">http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/staffers-reaction-sexual-misconduct...

quizz. I'm not  denying there's a cancer at the Parliament. It's the reason why gender parity is important in Ottawa and the capitals of each province.Espec ially in the era of Donald Trumpism.

It's just that my spidey senses kick in when a certain political party finds themselves in a scandal and conveniently somebody involved with the opposition suddenly walks out of the shadows to accuse a member of another party with the same thing literally hours afterward.

I'm suspicious of anyone involved in politics of any party making accusations against their foes. Politics is a dirty,corrupt and ruthless profession. Amoral too. 

WWWTT

quizzical wrote:
hey alan it's not about the party it's about the systemic abuse women have to put up with from men in positions of power. shilling for the liberals on this actually makes it worse for them btw.

Yep! Bang on. It’s good to finally see another poster here remember that there’s alleged victims in all of this. This really isn’t about politics. 

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:
 Note that Ms. Raworth had no 'experience' of her own re: Mr. Hehr's behaviour. What she offers is a hearsay statement that one should avoid being on an elevator with Mr. Hehr.  

Yes, because that is how women try to protect each other. It goes out on the grapevine. When the woman approached Trudeau on the bus about the two NDP MPs who had been accosted she assumed Trudeau already knew about it from the grapevine. The reporter that revealed names got the information from the grapevine. You see, he didn't just harrass one woman. You don't get the rep for that. That would be laughable, imagine believing just one woman!

Rev Pesky wrote:
Since Hehr announced his move from provincial to federal politics in July of 2014, I ask myself, why would someone wait for three years before bringing forward allegations which could have just as easily been brought forward three years ago. Before, for instance, Hehr had run for, and won, the Liberal nomination for the federal seat Calgary Centre.   

You probably haven't heard yet but a new "me too" movement emerged. We reached a critical point and women are coming forward in droves. Men are dropping like flies. 

Rev Pesky wrote:
 And what were these unnamed women afraid of? That Hehr would jump up out of his wheelchair and make a grab at them?  

You don't have to get out of your chair to verbally harrass or to goose someone. Women don't have to be in fear of physical attack for a man's behavior to be unacceptable. 

Rev Pesky wrote:
  I know that Hehr's support for reasonably progressive legislation doesn't mean he didn't make females in elevators feel uncomfortable, but it does seem a bit odd. 

Why does it seem odd? He's a man. Reminds me of the defence of coachs and priests, but they love children, but they are Christians, etc. How about, but he has sisters, but he has a mother, but he's in a wheelchair. It's all the same. Swindlers are well-liked too. Doesn't stop them from robbing you. 

In case you haven't caught up, he has resigned. 

All these men are resigning because they  don't want the details of their behavior revealed.

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

Yes, because that is how women try to protect each other.

You mean undocumented, anonymous accusations are now enough to make someone lose their job? What other offenses would this be acceptable for?

Women don't have to be in fear of physical attack for a man's behavior to be unacceptable. 

What behavoiur are we talking about here?

All these men are resigning because they  don't want the details of their behavior revealed.

Actually Patrick Brown didn't resign until he was forced to, and I suspect Hehr resigned when told to by the PM. This comment is similar to the one made by Alan Smithee:

I know that if I was accused of anything and I knew I was completely innocent and the allegations were false,I'd fight it tooth and nail. The fact Brown didn't confirms his guilt.

This reminds me of the old method for determining someone was a witch. Throw them in the water. If they float, they're a witch and will be put to death. If they drown, they're not.

And now we have someone from within the NDP party making accusations, without naming the perpetrators, so perhaps the whole caucus will have to resign. Of course, if they do, that will mean they were guilty. And if they don't, that will mean they don't take these accusations seriously.

 

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:
 You mean undocumented, anonymous accusations are now enough to make someone lose their job? What other offenses would this be acceptable for? 

No. The grapevine doesn't get people fired. The grapevine tells women who not to be alone with. 

Rev Pesky wrote:
 What behavoiur are we talking about here? 

Sexual misconduct. If you want details you will have to ask the men involved. They know what they are being accused of. 

In the case of Brown:

CTV News reported Wednesday night that two women allege Brown, a teetotalling bachelor, made unwanted sexual advances when they were drunk. They were teenagers at the time and he was a Conservative MP.

Rev Pesky wrote:
 Actually Patrick Brown didn't resign until he was forced to, and I suspect Hehr resigned when told to by the PM. 

They are not being asked to resign based on some casual phoned in accusations coupled with an assumption of "guilt".  These are not stupid men. They are well able to judge the credibility of accusations and the characters of the men involved. Men often have a pretty good idea which of them is likely to make inappropriate advances. They are part of the grapevine too. 

Rev Pesky wrote:
  And now we have someone from within the NDP party making accusations, without naming the perpetrators, so perhaps the whole caucus will have to resign.

What are you referring to? 

Rev Pesky wrote:
  ...so perhaps the whole caucus will have to resign. Of course, if they do, that will mean they were guilty. And if they don't, that will mean they don't take these accusations seriously.

Exageration doesn't help your case. The party executive and caucus know the men they are dealing with. Men who behave like that are not otherwise respectful of women and I'm sure that shows in their interactions with other men and in the way they talk about women. As I said men are also part of the grapevine. Ghomeshi was an open secret to the extent that universities wouldn't send female interns. 

If these men had impeccable characters they would have no problem weathering the storm. Their teams would stand beside them. They can't weather the storm because the likelihood of more women coming forward is high. 

I am not a court of law. I can judge credibility and use that as my guide. 

For the third time this month, federal cabinet minister Kent Hehr has been forced to defend himself against allegations he was rude and insensitive toward Canadians who came to him for help.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/kent-hehr-under-fire-again-1.4445724

"Jerk" seems to be in character for him. I believe the people who know him well are able to judge his credibility on this issue. He wasn't asked to resign based solely on a casual second hand accusation. 

Rev Pesky

A statement from Patrick Brown's sister:

False allegations

What happened to my brother was disgusting. And make no mistake, he is the victim. Thank you to those who have reached out and shared your outrage. I appreciate it immensely. These completely false allegations were 100% politically motivated and nothing more than a political hit. I know them for a fact to be untrue. Those who know me would characterize me as a strong feminist but making false allegations does not help the feminist cause. Applauding accusers who remain nameless ghosts to bolster political capitol (sic)- pathetic. My brother is the kindest person I have ever known- he has always worked tirelessly to help people. He did not deserve this.

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

Sexual misconduct. If you want details you will have to ask the men involved. They know what they are being accused of. 

Oh, the way you are talking, I thought you knew something about what the offenses were. 

They are not being asked to resign based on some casual phoned in accusations coupled with an assumption of "guilt".

That was not the point. The point was that resigning was taken as prima facie evidence that in fact they were guilty of committing some offense. But if they were forced to resign, one of the things you can't say is their resignations show their guilt.

What are you referring to? 

From CBC:

After allegations of sexual misconduct rocked Hollywood and Canada's arts and entertainment industry, former Parliament Hill staffers say it was only a matter of time before the spotlight turned to Canadian politics.

"It's always been a matter of when — not if — these stories will break," said Lauren Dobson-Hughes, a former NDP staffer.

Dobson-Hughes alleges she too faced routine sexual misconduct in her seven years on the Hill.

"Daily references to my figure, to my sex life, whether I was married," she said.

"Being grabbed and groped, being forcibly kissed."

From Pondering:

I am not a court of law. I can judge credibility and use that as my guide. 

You must also be psychic. I don't know how else you could judge the credibility of an anonymous statement made by a second-hand source. Perhaps you could tell us your secret.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If these men had impeccable characters they would have no problem weathering the storm.

Similarly, people with nothing to hide don't refuse illegal searches.

Yuck.  I'm not trying to defend gropers, but I see no merit in suggesting that if you're accused of something you didn't do that somehow you'll be fine, and that conversely if you're not, that means you must have done it.

Rev Pesky

Elizabeth May now on the hot seat (okay, it's not 'sexual')

Green Party defends Elizabeth May

The Green Party says it is "firmly behind" leader Elizabeth May in spite of recent allegations that she bullied and berated former staff.

The allegations, published in the Toronto Star on Saturday, come from three former employees who allege May created a hostile work environment by yelling at and insulting employees.

...In a statement, the party framed the allegations as coming from "disgruntled former staff."

..."There have been no formal complaints about Ms. May. Sour grapes are unfortunately common with staff who were not retained for performance reasons," the statement reads.

...One of the former staffers told the Star that May requested her office be repainted and "threw a fit" when she came back to the office before it was done.

..."It is extremely unlikely that a decade-old anecdote about a man's frustration with his office paint job would merit national news," the party said in its statement.

Let's hope, for May's sake, that she never asked an employee whether they were married.

This does, however, point the way for future reference. Instead of resigning, just issue a statement that the problem is disgruntled former staff with a penchant for sour grapes.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

The two "tells" -- from the article:

Quote:
CBC News spoke to all three employees and confirmed their allegations but also spoke to former employees who said the complaints are overblown

The complaints are "overblown".  They were bad, but not THAT bad.

Quote:
There have been no formal complaints about Ms. May.

There were informal complaints, presumably.  But we need "signatures" or it didn't happen.

WWWTT

Elizabeth May now on the hot seat (okay, it's not 'sexual')

Then in Ontario its ok when I last checked. As far as I know there's no rules against being an asshole or a loud jerk. Perhaps some companies have certain policies that would have given May's actions reason to give her the boot, but outside of that, she's still good.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Maybe this needs a new thread, but why does bullying need to be sexual to be not OK?

Why does it need to be sexual to result in immediate resignations and terminations?

What, specifically, would make this a whole different thing if one of the accusers had said "... and she touched my bum"?

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

I am not a court of law. I can judge credibility and use that as my guide. 

You must also be psychic. I don't know how else you could judge the credibility of an anonymous statement made by a second-hand source. Perhaps you could tell us your secret.

There is no secret. I look at several aspects.

One of the women, then a high school student, said Brown asked her for a sex act. “He pulled down his pants and I don’t know if he said ‘suck my dick’ or ‘put this in my mouth’ but something along those lines,” the woman said.

The alleged incident occurred over 10 years ago. At the time, Brown was a politician in Barrie. The student met him at a bar with a mutual friend. She was under Ontario’s legal drinking age at the time. Brown, a teetotaller, wasn’t drinking but invited both back to his home, the woman told CTV.

She said she was drunk at the time, and Brown offered her a tour of the house.

“He kind of shut the door on me and started making moves,” she told CTV. “I kind of came to, frantic, like ’kay, you need to let me out, I’m leaving.”

They were in the room for between five and 10 minutes, she said, describing the situation as “controlling.”

The second woman’s allegations come from 2012, when Brown was a federal MP under Stephen Harper. The pair met on an Air Canada flight. She was 18 at the time, and in her first year of university.

Later that night, the woman said, Brown looked her up and sent her a Facebook message. “Are you impressed I remembered your name. I am L-O-L” he wrote, according to CTV.

He gave her his phone number, and names of Barrie bars he’d be at. “If you ever need to skip a line in downtown Barrie just text me,” he said, according to CTV. “I laughed it off as older man hitting on me,” she said.

The next year, she asked Brown for a summer job, which she began in his constituency office. She was told to organize a Hockey Night in Barrie charity game that Brown hosts on an annual basis.

There was an after-party in a local nightclub, where the woman said Brown and others provided her with many free drinks. “It was too many to count,” she told CTV. When the bar closed, they all went to Brown’s house. Images from the party were captured on social media.

The second woman said she was drunk when Brown, who again wasn’t drinking, invited her and his male friend to his bedroom to look at photographs. The friend left, leaving her and Brown sitting on the bed.

“That scenario, like of a very inebriated young employee in the bedroom of her boss, alone with him, who hasn’t had a drop of alcohol all night, just that’s an intimidating situation and I was not sure what to do about it,” she told CTV. “The next thing I know he’s kissing me.”

She said she froze, and that he continued to kiss her, laid her down and got on top of her. “I remember consciously trying not to move my mouth and I was just not moving, so I was laying there immobile,” she said.

“I could feel his erection on my legs when he was on top of me, so I felt that it would have gone to sexual intercourse if I had not done anything.”

She said she informed Brown she had a boyfriend, which she did, and that he needed to take her home. He then allegedly drove her to her parents’ house.

CTV News corroborated the account with four people close to the woman, who said she recounted the incident with Brown in the months afterward. She returned to work for Brown the following summer.

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/01/24/pc-leader-patrick-bro...

He hasn't been accused of doing anything illegal. Two women have come forward with very different accounts. In the second account the woman shared her experience with friends years ago. I doubt she did that just in case she might want to set him up years later. Boths women's stories ring true to me. Brown's denial does not. 

Next is the fact that he was asked to resign. He would not have been asked to resign if it was determined that these were likely trumped up accusations to hurt him politically. Men rally around men if there is any hope. The Conservative party invested a lot in Brown. For them to cut their losses so quickly tells me they believe the accusations and I think they are probably pretty good judges of character given their high level of power within the party. His accusers are, it seems, Conservative supporters. There is no pay off for the women making these separate accusations. 

He says he is denying the accusations but what is he denying? Is he saying the woman was never in his bedroom? She said another man was there at first but then left so there is a witness to that. It seems to me Brown could challenge her to name that friend who could then say, "no way, he never took us to the bedroom to look at photographs and I wouldn't have left them alone".  

It is unlikely that these are the only two young women he has inappropriately propositioned and that is why he was asked to resign. 

Up until quite recently a politician's sexual exploits were concerned his own personal business as long as the incidents were consentual or at least not non-consensual. Neither of these women is claiming that he forced himself on them. Neither is claiming they were passed out or incapable of consent/non-consent. In both cases he made no attempt to stop them from leaving and even drove one home after being refused and she worked for him again the following summer apparently without further incident so it wasn't an "or else" situation. He accepted her rejection and still hired her again. 

Their accounts seem like totally normal behavior for people who went out to a bar and got drunk and went to someone's house to continue partying. The only aspect that makes this inappropriate (not illegal) are the ages involved, the power dynamic, and that they had been drinking and he had not. 

The Ghomeshi story came out because The Star heard stuff on the grapevine and started investigating. That allowed them to get multiple accusers on record. With the me too movement in full swing you can be sure reporters have their ear to the grapevines to find out which men are the known aggressors. Don't some of those reporters even go to the bars the politicians go to? This time it was CTV. I doubt it was a coincident that these two women just happened to come forward to CTV at the same time and I doubt they are the only two young women he has propositioned inappropriately. CTV must have heard rumours and investigated. Is that not the logical conclusion?

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

There is no secret. I look at several aspects.

If indeed you read those accounts, and gave them any credibility at all, I am afraid your bullshit meter is not working. There are so many holes in both those stories it would only take a couple of minutes of cross examination to destroy them. For instance:

...“I laughed it off as older man hitting on me,” she said.

The next year, she asked Brown for a summer job...

What??? You mean to tell me this girl was hit on by a creepy old man, and next thing you know she's asking the same for a job??? You find that credible? Really Pondering, perhaps you should ponder a bit more.

Followed by this treasure:

There was an after-party in a local nightclub, where the woman said Brown and others provided her with many free drinks. “It was too many to count,” she told CTV.

Right. I know something about drinking, though I don't drink any more myself. One of the things I know is that young people who drink 'more drinks than they can count' go to sleep. Usually after puking up supper. But it gets even better:

The second woman said she was drunk when Brown, who again wasn’t drinking, invited her and his male friend to his bedroom to look at photographs. The friend left, leaving her and Brown sitting on the bed.

Okay, finally we something we can actually check. There was a third person involved. All we need to do is ask the third person to confirm or deny the story. So where is that third party? If I was the person making the accusation that would be the first person I'd point to to corroborate my story. You'ne noted that yourself, but for some reason suggest that Brown should challenge her rather than have her just name the person.

Here's what I think of it. I think exactly the same as Brown's sister, the whole thing is a pile of crap. It does however, have the attraction of the story of the old creep whispering "Have some Madeira my dear" into the ear of the sweet young innocent. Quite romantic.

 

Rev Pesky

I wonder of Elizabeth May's office is still red? Frankly, if I went on holday, and expected a nice soothing earth-tone and green office when I got back, only to find the damn office was still red, I'd probably lose my cool too!

And why was that office red to begin with? Perhaps some old Liberal MP?

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

So her office right now is Green but just under the surface it is Liberal red.  How fitting.

Pondering

I realized I am in the wrong thread so I will reply in the appropriate thread.

http://rabble.ca/babble/ontario/two-women-come-forward-graphic-sexual-mi...

WWWTT

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Maybe this needs a new thread, but why does bullying need to be sexual to be not OK?

Why does it need to be sexual to result in immediate resignations and terminations?

What, specifically, would make this a whole different thing if one of the accusers had said "... and she touched my bum"?

Maybe there shouldn't be too many threads here. This thread is one of two different Canadian politicians occused of alleged sexual nature misconduct and it seems to be bouncing back and forth, so to me it appears the two should really be merged, or if they migrate back and forth, I wouldn't get too worried because this is easy and very natural to happen. As far as discussing May's actions, that also is related! In my opinion it's not thread drift.

You raise some good questions here. I have before in the past have been a jerk at work. Also have had to be one for good reason.  I think maybe there's an understanding out there that sometimes in order to deal/handle an asshole, you have to be an asshole.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think all government offices should, as a matter of policy, be painted Baker-Miller pink.

Pondering

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kent-hehr-calgary-1.4504448

The prime minister was asked about allegations that had been posted to social media that suggested women felt unsafe being alone with Hehr at the Alberta legislature, where he was a member from 2008 to 2015.

Kristin Raworth suggested on Twitter that the MP made sexually suggestive comments to her in an elevator, telling her, "you're yummy."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kent-hehr-allegations-1.4506957

Jenn Prosser is a political organizer in Alberta with more than a decade in provincial and federal politics.

She told CBC News that while she was not harassed personally, she was first warned to stay clear of Hehr while in student politics at the University of Lethbridge years ago.

"They had kind of pulled me aside, 'this is just an FYI, Kent Hehr is known to be really handsy, he's been known to grab women, he's pulled other students onto his lap before,'" she said.

Two other people involved in different levels of Canadian politics confirmed to CBC News that they had been warned of Hehr's behaviour, and say they know of women who have been the subject of unwanted sexual comments or physical contact from the Calgary MP.

The woman who first accused Hehr of inappropriate behaviour on Twitter on Wednesday sent out a tweet Saturday morning saying that since she made the allegations, she has received threats.

Hehr has also been accused of dismissiveness towards injured veterans and thalidomide victims. He should have been dismissed as minister then. Now we have these allegations of sexual comments made to women and being handsy when he catches one alone. Not one woman. Women, because that is what it takes. One event is excused or not believed. 

Here is one example. I was on a city bus on one of the sideways seats at the front, closely packed. The man sitting next to me put his hand down flat between us, palm down, then slowly started turning his hand so it was slipping under my thigh. I just loudly said "take your hand away" and he did, but he didn't move and I didn't tell the driver. If I had he would have said he was trying to steady himself and people wouldn't have known who to believe. I didn't give up my seat. Does that mean what he did was okay because after all I didn't stand up to get away from him. This is the first time I have even mentioned it. In another case on a forward facing seat I was next to the window. A man sat next to me and started manspreading to the point he was pushing against my leg. I put my umbrella between us and gave him a dirty look. 

Some seem to think that a rumor can be started about a man by one or two disgruntled woman and from there on end it's repeated as truth until "everybody knows" even though the guy could be totally innocent. That's not how it happens past high school. Past high school it depends on who the individuals involved are. Is it the ditzy chick from the typing pool or the star sales woman speaking? Is it the first time or was there a similar accusation from someone else? What is the man like in general? What motives could the women have? Could she have misinterpreted him? What motive does the grapevine have? Is it just gossip? 

The grapevine being referred to begins with women looking out for each other. These aren't incidents to even consider reporting officially. They are micro aggressions women have to deal with on their own. They are he said she said and happen in private. Women tip each other off so that if they are stuck in an elevator they can be careful to keep their back to a corner and be ready for sexual comments, or know not to go to lunch with the guy. There is no other motive. Women then often mention it to the men they are intimate with when the guy's name comes up in conversation. Men tell their friends or simply believe it because they know the guy. 

Hehr is still an MP. He is only out of cabinet pending investigation. I expect after the investigation he will be booted from the party and sit as an independent. 

You can be skeptical. I believe the women, plural.