OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is standing by his decision to expel Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir from caucus even though his original accuser, fellow MP Christine Moore, has herself been suspended from her duties over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Singh says the investigation into the harassment complaints against Weir was impartial and independent and the fact it was Moore who flagged his behaviour as a concern is “not relevant at all.”
“Just because of an allegation that’s now risen, which we take seriously, in no way should cast any question of credibility about other allegations,” Singh told reporters outside the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“This notion has happened far too often for women and is not an acceptable line of argument.”
Less than a week after Weir was kicked out of the NDP’s ranks, Moore found herself temporarily suspended from her caucus duties after an Afghan war veteran accused her of inappropriate sexual behaviour in 2013.
Retired corporal Glen Kirkland says many people knew about Moore’s alleged actions, but that they were treated less seriously because of their respective genders.
But Singh says he and his team did not know about the allegations until Kirkland spoke to the media on Tuesday, at which point he suspended Moore and began looking for an independent investigator.
“Any time allegations are made aware to me, I have 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,” he said.
“And the actions I take are to investigate and then once investigations are completed, if there are people responsible, I make it my responsibility to hold those to account.”
For her part, Moore has said she welcomes Singh’s decision to launch an investigation into Kirkland’s complaints and told the Globe and Mail on Wednesday that she disputed Kirkland’s version of events.
“This happened five years ago, so I have to go through different things to remember everything. But I will answer to that,” she told the newspaper.
“You will find out that there is some stuff that [does] not stick with his story.”
Kirkland, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan in 2008, says Moore asked him back to her office after he testified before a parliamentary committee in June 2013 about the treatment of ill and injured soldiers.
“She started pouring me drinks and I told her: ‘I’m on medication,’” Kirkland continued. “I told her what I was on. She said it was fine. I was like: ‘OK, you’re a nurse and you’re kind of my boss, so what am I going to say?’”
Kirkland did not want to get into specifics. But he did tell the CBC that Moore followed him back to his hotel and continued to send explicit messages, even turning up unannounced at his Manitoba home before he forcibly told her to stop.
“I’m not claiming rape or anything,” Kirkland, who is now a real estate agent in Brandon, Man., told CP on Tuesday. But, he said, “she was inappropriate. She used her position of power and authority to get what she wanted.”