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

Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

RCMP working wildfires deploy spike belt to nab alleged auto thief from Oliver.

Peachland is open for business

Fires keeping away visitors, tourists

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Wildfire near Keremeos still burning at 255 hectares

The Placer Mountain wildfire is still active

Cutest pet contest winner: Rosie

Cutest pet in the South Okanagan-Similkameen winner for July 13

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

Update: Wildfire near Summerland mapped at 118 hectares

The Mount Conkle wildfire is 90 per cent guarded

Update: Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

Fire chief Dennis Craig said wind was blowing the fire away from homes

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Most Read