A Conservative MP says he wears a video-camera to avoid "besmirchment" when meeting with colleagues, a comment made in the aftermath of harassment allegations on Parliament Hill.
Two MPs, Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti, were suspended from the Liberal caucus earlier this month after allegations of misconduct involving two female NDP MPs. Parliament Hill has been gripped for weeks about how to handle such cases.
On Wednesday, Edmonton MP Peter Goldring weighed in with his own press release, one that suggested the NDP MPs are guilty of "shameful indiscretion and complicity" and that Mr. Andrews and Mr. Pacetti were not given due process.
Mr. Goldring said in the statement that he wears "body-worn video recording equipment" as "protection." He said MPs who "consort with others" should also wear cameras and other "risk protection" to "prevent besmirchment when encounters run awry." The three-paragraph statement was sent to the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa.
Late Wednesday, Mr. Goldring issued a follow-up statement through the Prime Minister's Office. "Earlier today I issued a press release that I now recognize was completely inappropriate. I retract that press release unconditionally and deeply regret it," it said.
Mr. Goldring did not return messages from The Globe after the initial statement was released. In it, Mr. Goldring is quotes as saying: "It will not be good enough to simply say that your intentions were honourable and you were just inviting a colleague to your apartment at two in the morning to play a game of Scrabble at the end of a day of playing sports and drinking. MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth.
"I now wear 'protection' in the form of body-worn video recording equipment. I suggest that others do so too, particularly because some accusers hide behind a shield of supposed credibility which many times is not, and sometimes even hide behind a cloak of anonymity, which conceals their shameful indiscretion and complicity."
The last sentence appears to reference the current allegations involving the Liberal and NDP MPs, and the details in his hypothetical scenario closely match those that have emerged in the case thus far. One of the two current cases, for instance, involves an NDP MP who was on a sports team with Mr. Pacetti, and says she returned to his hotel room with him after a night of drinking. That MP has since said the two had sex without her "explicit consent." Mr. Pacetti says he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
Mr. Goldring goes on to criticize the NDP MPs' "unproven harassment allegations," including one who "has spoken to the media while insisting her name not be published." He said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suspended the men from his caucus "without due process."