Trudeau ‘confident’ he didn’t act inappropriately at B.C. music festival in 2000

PM says he’s been mulling the claim in the Creston Valley Advance editorial that resurfaced in June

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted Thursday he “did not act inappropriately” towards a female reporter at a B.C. music festival 18 years ago — but he also acknowledged that the woman he’s been accused of groping may have an entirely different perspective.

Trudeau said he’s been reflecting on the incident ever since an editorial from the Creston Valley Advance newspaper surfaced, describing how he — 28 years old and a world away from a career in federal politics — apologized for inappropriate conduct. The Advance is owned by Black Press Media.

“This is a situation that has been very much on my mind over the past few weeks,” Trudeau said when asked about the incident during a news conference in Toronto.

“I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago and again I feel — I am confident — that I did not act inappropriately. But part of this awakening that we’re having as a society, a long awaited realization, is that it’s not just one side of the story that matters.”

The event in question was the Kokanee Summit festival in August 2000, which Trudeau attended to accept a donation to the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign. The Trudeau family launched the campaign after his youngest brother, Michel, died in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in 1998.

The unsigned editorial says Trudeau “inappropriately handled” a reporter there to cover the event, and apologized to her by saying, ”If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”

READ MORE: Trudeau denies ‘negative interaction’ after old B.C. editorial alleging misbehaviour goes viral

Trudeau’s self-professed stance as a feminist prime minister with a low tolerance for inappropriate behaviour has critics — livid that he has so far essentially shrugged off the claim — demanding an independent investigation.

Conservative MPs have been raging about it on Twitter, accusing their female Liberal counterparts of being anti-feminist and weak for failing to speak out against the alleged behaviour.

“The weakness is specific to you, because you virtue signal and refuse to set your boss to his own standard for allegations of sexual harassment,” Calgary MP Michelle Rempel tweeted at Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef.

“There are so many others of all genders who are stronger than you.”

Trudeau did not directly address why he hasn’t ordered an independent investigation, as he did earlier this year when allegations of misconduct and harassment were made against then-cabinet minister Kent Hehr.

Trudeau said he apologized at the time because the woman felt something wrong had happened — even if he felt otherwise.

“I’m responsible for my side of the interaction, which certainly, as I said, I don’t think was in any way untoward,” he said.

“But at the same time this lesson that we are learning, and I’ll be blunt about it, often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently. We have to respect that and reflect on that.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Chilliwack school board to foot $30,000 to $35,000 bill for judicial recount

Recount of 24,700 ballots changed the seventh- and eight-place candidate differential by one vote

Enjoy your favourite rock hits at Rock’n’Soul Christmas

Sounds of Little Richard, Fats Domino, James Brown and Tina Turner come to Chilliwack

Safety fencing goes up in preparation for downtown Chilliwack redevelopment

There is a buzz in the air as the Algra development details are gradually coming into focus

Canadian Junior Football League names Husker’s Bob Reist Coach of the Year

Reist spearheaded a remarkable turnaround for Chilliwack’s junior football franchise.

Philomusica Chorus presents lively concert A Calypso Christmas

Caribbean-themed Christmas concert set for Dec. 2 in Chilliwack

Koi-munching otter avoids trap in Vancouver Chinese garden

Park staff have set up a trap with chicken and smeared a mat with fish oil, so far to no avail

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

Most Read