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OTTAWA—The NDP is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “immediately remove” from caucus a Calgary MP accused of sexually harassing a young female staffer, then offering her money to stay silent with her allegations.
In a statement Tuesday morning, the party’s Status of Women critic Sheila Malcolmson said Trudeau is failing to uphold his stated “zero tolerance” for misconduct and harassment, after allegations emerged that rookie MP Darshan Kang sexually harassed a woman who worked for more than four years in his Calgary constituency office.
The 24-year-old woman’s father told the Star Monday that Kang then offered to pay her as much as $ 100,000 to stay silent with her allegations, which he said included unwelcome hugs and hand-holding, as well as an incident in June when he offered the woman wine and tried to take off her jacket.
“Until such time as a full investigation can be completed, Mr. Kang should not sit as a member of the governing party. That is exactly what Prime Minister used to say and do; I am at a loss as to why he has refused to take similar action in response to these allegations,” Malcolmson said in the statement.
“That is not the leadership of a feminist prime minister.”
Kang did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday and remained silent Tuesday morning.
Earlier this month, the Hill Times revealed that Kang is being investigated by the House of Commons human resources officer for alleged sexual harassment. The government whip’s office has confirmed it received allegations, and said Monday that it forwarded them to chief human resources officer Pierre Parent.
“We were made aware of the allegations and referred them, as per the House of Commons process, to the chief human resources officer,” the government whip’s chief-of-staff, Charles-Eric Lépine, said in an email on Monday.
He declined to answer any more questions on the matter.
According to the woman’s father, Hamilton MP and deputy government whip Filomena Tassi travelled to Calgary in June, shortly after the alleged victim came forward to her boss in Kang’s office, to interview her about what allegedly occurred.
It is unclear when the whip’s office informed Parliament’s human resources office of the allegations.
During the 2016-17 fiscal year, the office received 19 cases and deemed two serious enough for investigation, according to its most recent annual report. Both cases were found to be “not substantiated.”
Trudeau was asked about Kang’s case on Monday. The prime minister told reporters “that our whip’s office and the human resources of the Parliament of Canada are engaged, as they must be, in this process, and I have no further comment to make at this time on the independent process that is being undergone.”
Former fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo was also blocked from returning to caucus last year after he resigned from cabinet to enter treatment for alcoholism. It was later revealed that he was in a sexual relationship with a young female staffer.