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

Quesnel seniors community looking for new bands to entertain residents

All ages are welcome to come play and times are flexible

Quesnel fighter loses split decision in Kelowna

Coach says Emblau needs some new tricks to stay competitive

Restored coach to make it’s debut in Billy Barker Days parade

The vehicle was originally used as a taxi on the island and was once owned by a B.C. premier

Educational videos for rodeo athletes address concussions, mental health

Ty Pozzobon Foundation, Canadian Pro Sports Medicine Team produce series

Update: Six new wildfires ignited by lightning in Cariboo Fire Centre

The Cariboo Fire Centre said there are no structures threatened at this time

UPDATED: Lightning sparks seven new fires in the Cariboo, one extinguished

There are seven new fires in the Cariboo, as well as one between Hixon and Prince George

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Most Read