February 18, 2019

Woman behind Trudeau groping claims speaks

10 July 2018, 10:30 | Devin Moran

Trudeau denies sexually assaulting reporter in 2000


In the original article that she wrote anonymously while covering the Creston Music Festival for local newspaper Creston Valley Advance, she wrote that Trudeau had apologized for "handling" her inappropriately the next day. Trudeau was on hand for the festivities to raise awareness of the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign — a memorial to his late brother Michel.

Hehr's event drew a big crowd of Calgarians keen to have their photo snapped and shake hands with the prime minister. She said she was not interested in being associated with any further coverage of the story.

Trudeau also received criticism for going for a shirtless jog in Toronto the same day he addressed the allegations.

In an email today, Valerie Bourne, the former publisher of The Advance, said she spoke privately with the woman on the day of the incident. "I have had no subsequent contact with Mr. Trudeau, before or after he became Prime Minister".

On Thursday, Trudeau changed his approach and responded to the allegations.

"I think people understand that every situation is different and we have to reflect and take seriously every situation on a case-by-case basis and that's exactly what we're endeavouring to do in any range of situations that come forward", he said.

"I'll be blunt about it", Trudeau said.

Appearing at Hehr's Stampede breakfast at the Sunalta Community Centre, Trudeau called Hehr a "great MP".

Numerous candidates are lining up to seek the Conservative nomination in Calgary Centre.

Trudeau said he apologized at the time because the woman felt something wrong had happened - even if he felt otherwise. No one on my team has reached out to her.

Trudeau, who frequently proclaims himself a feminist and has generally taken a zero-tolerance approach to allegations of sexual misconduct within the Liberal party is finding himself in a unusual place.

Bourne said that she found the reporter's account credible and that she had not been satisfied with Trudeau's responses.

"[The reporter] doesn't have to come forward if she doesn't want to. That should be your baseline".

"The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement".

She said the incident, described in August 2000 in an editorial in a newspaper "did occur, as reported", BBC reported.

"The survivor, the victim, is the person who needs to be making the choices around this, and who need to be believed", she said.

"I think it's driving them to be quiet because they've seen the circus that is this story".

In January, CBC Radio host Chris Hall asked Trudeau about the topic of sexual assault and sexual harassment. "People experience things differently and we have to be more thoughtful and that's a big part of the collective awakening we have to have".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a fundraiser in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, July 5, 2018.

At the time of the allegation, Trudeau was a 28-year-old teacher.

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