Canada's self-proclaimed feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can not remember any "negative interactions" during an event he attended 18 years ago in British Columbia - this happens to be the first time he has addressed allegations of sexual misconduct that have been in the news in recent weeks.
"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 and we have to respect that and reflect on it", he said. "If I had known you were reporting for a national newspaper, I would never have been so forward". Canadian political commentator Warren Kinsella tweeted a photo of the editorial last month along with the hashtag #MeToo, which reignited the conversation surrounding the allegations.
In the days that followed, an editorial appeared in the Creston Valley Advance alleging Trudeau had apologized to an unnamed female reporter at the newspaper after "groping" her at the event.
At the time of the alleged incident, Trudeau was in Creston to raise money for alpine awareness, two years after his younger brother Michel was killed in an avalanche in southeastern B.C.
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He went on to say, however, that part of the "awakening we're having as a society" is the realization that even if one person doesn't believe they behaved poorly, the other may feel violated by their actions.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - considered by many a feminist heartthrob - assured reporters yet again that he's not the groping type.
"I don't want to speak for her, I don't want to presume how she feels now", Trudeau said. "The account however, is in the public record, and the Prime Minister isn't abiding by his own framework set for these situations", Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said in a Twitter post. Trudeau...apologized - a day late - for inappropriately "handling" the reporter while she was on assignment, not only for the Advance, but also for the National Post and Vancouver Sun... "To me, he's deflecting. He's got his perception of it and she has hers - and he's not saying that either is wrong".
Earlier this year, Mr. Trudeau ordered an independent investigation into Liberal lawmaker Kent Hehr's past behavior after learning of allegations that Mr. Hehr made inappropriate sexual remarks when he was a provincial lawmaker in Alberta. In 2015, he named an equal number of male and female members in his cabinet. Bourne said it was a "brief touch" and "I would not classify it or qualify it as sexual assault".