Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

One former Liberal MP (and former fisheries minister), Hunter Tootoo, has returned from two months' treatment for alcohol addiction. But another Liberal MP, Seamus O'Reagan, has returned from 45 days of treatment for alcohol addition and is still a member of the Liberal caucus, while Mr. Tootoo is now mysteriously independent of any caucus, still representing the riding of Nunavut, but in solitude.

Something is missing in this story. Surely it is hardly conceivable in this quite politically correct government that there has been discrimination against an Inuk, in contrast to an MP of Irish descent, Mr. O'Reagan.

Mr. Tootoo still says he believes in the Trudeau government, but he will not sit with it.

Story continues below advertisement

Rumour has it that the Prime Minister's Office had been told that Mr. Tootoo had had an "inappropriate" relationship with a junior female staffer. Whether that means that the PMO believes that any sexual relationship between an MP or cabinet minister and a young staffer is inappropriate is unclear. Or was it that there was, or was believed to be, some extraordinary impropriety?

Unfortunately, the word "inappropriate" is a vague one, sometimes all too conveniently. It can range from moderately bad judgment to something truly scandalous or horrifying. As a result, imagination or gossip can get out of hand.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has "zero tolerance" for sexual misconduct and harassment of women. Fine. But the report of "an inappropriate relationship" does not necessarily suggest a non-consensual, compelled or even a trading of favours. The word "harassment," too, can signify quite a wide range of behaviours.

The PMO's statement, described as "blunt," said Mr. Tootoo would not be allowed back into the Liberal caucus. He was wished well in his resumption of his parliamentary work as the MP for Nunavut. Perhaps there is a faint hint of an eventual return to the good graces of the party, in the curt words "His status with regard to the Liberal caucus remains unchanged."

Mr. Tootoo's words about "deeply personal and private issues that have haunted me" are melodramatic. So far, he has successfully avoided saying anything about sexual impropriety. One suspects, however, that he still hopes for redemption from Mr. Trudeau.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies