Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was just asked about lingering allegations of misconduct during an appearance over the weekend. As is often the case in these Me Too incidents, the allegation against Trudeau comes from a supposed incident that took place quite a few years ago. However, when asked about it during an event on Sunday, Trudeau disputed the claims.
The Washington Post details that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced some difficult questions during an appearance in Regina where he was visiting steelworkers on Canada Day. A reporter asked the PM about allegations that came from a woman who attended a music festival in 2000 where Trudeau allegedly groped her.
Trudeau says that he remembers the event in question and that he did not have any negative experiences that day. These are not brand-new allegations, as they were originally reported in 2000 in an unsigned editorial printed in a small paper called the Creston Valley Advance. The allegation is that Justin, who was a young teacher at the time, groped an Advance reporter while they were at the Kokanee Summit Festival.
“I remember that day in Creston well. It was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all.”
Hardworking Canadians – like the steelworkers at @evrazna in Regina – are the backbone of this country. And on Canada’s 151st birthday, we celebrate them and everyone who continues to build the country we love. #CanadaDay pic.twitter.com/7Y59p3lthC
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 2, 2018
The identity of the reporter who made the allegation has never been made public. The editorial printed at the time said that the reporter involved had felt “blatantly disrespected” by the encounter. She also said that Trudeau did apologize for what happened the next day, noting that he was sorry for “inappropriately handling” her.
Reports detail that the incident was recently discussed with those who were the Advance editor and publisher at the time. The reporter was said to be “unsettled” by the situation and unsure how to handle it given the notoriety of the Trudeau family. The CBC says that former Advance publisher Valerie Bourne said that the incident involved “a brief touch.”
“I would not classify it or qualify it as sexual assault.”
In addition, former editor Brian Bell described the encounter as “definitely not welcome and definitely inappropriate” according to what he was told. Belle says that as far as he is concerned, there is no question that what the reporter said happened did indeed happen. However, Belle additionally said that the reporter did not seem distraught or traumatized by the situation at the time.
— Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) June 6, 2018
As detailed by the BBC, the alleged Trudeau incident is making headlines again thanks to the Me Too movement. A blogger posted a copy of the 2000 editorial via Twitter in June, and it notes that Trudeau supposedly said that he “never would have been so forward” if he had known the woman was “reporting for a national paper.”
Will this put the matter to rest, now that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has answered a question about the alleged 2000 incident? It looks like this is generating a fair amount of buzz on social media, and many will be interested to see if it prompts any additional allegations to emerge.