A New Democrat MP whose allegations of harassment led to a Saskatchewan MP being expelled from the NDP caucus has herself been stripped of caucus duties over allegations of sexual harassment.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced on Tuesday that Christine Moore, the 34-year-old member for Abitibi-Témiscamingue, would have to temporarily stand down from her work as a caucus member.
An independent investigator will look into allegations that Ms. Moore spent the night with Glen Kirkland, a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict, after his emotional testimony at a House of Commons committee in 2013 and that Ms. Moore later showed up unannounced at Mr. Kirkland’s home in Brandon, Man.
“Reporters knew about it. Members of Parliament knew about it. Everyone knew about it,” Mr. Kirkland, 34, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “But because I am a guy and she is a girl, nothing was done about it. People thought it was laughable.”
Just last week, Mr. Singh expelled Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir from the NDP caucus, saying Mr. Weir had failed to take responsibility for sexual harassment claims against him that were sustained by an independent investigation.
It was Ms. Moore who brought those claims to the attention of the NDP caucus in February, saying she had heard stories from a number of other women about Mr. Weir and, consequently, she would not feel comfortable meeting with him alone. An independent investigator subsequently found that Mr. Weir did not read social clues and stopped his advances when he was told they were unwanted.
Now Mr. Singh is having to deal with Ms. Moore.
“I take these allegations very seriously and I will be appointing an independent investigator to conduct a fair and full examination,” said Mr. Singh. “While that process is ongoing, Mme Moore’s duties as an NDP MP, including participation on any committee, will be temporarily suspended. Once the work of the investigator has been completed, Mme Moore’s role in caucus will be re-evaluated.”
Ms. Moore said in her own statement that she is happy to have her behaviour scrutinized.
“I welcome the opportunity to participate in the independent and fair examination of these allegations,” she said. “Out of respect for the fairness and the integrity of the process, I will not be commenting further on these allegations at this point.”
Ms. Moore, who was first elected in the NDP’s “Orange Wave” of 2011, has been her party’s critic for rural affairs.
On June 5, 2013, she was the NDP representative on the Veteran’s Affairs committee as it heard evidence about the care of ill and injured members of the Canadian Forces.
Mr. Kirkland, who had been called as a witness, told a harrowing tale of being ambushed by 120 Taliban fighters. The light armoured vehicle he was riding in was hit by a rocket, killing three of the five Canadians on board instantly and leaving Mr. Kirkland with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that prevents his pancreas from producing insulin.
“It was very emotional and I had to talk about me being on fire and doing first aid on my friends who were screaming and dead,” said Mr. Kirkland.
After the committee meeting, he said, Ms. Moore handed him her card and asked him to come to her office. “I am a corporal in the military and a Member of Parliament is asking me to do things. That is quite a rank difference,” said Mr. Kirkland, explaining his decision to do as she asked.
At the office, he said Ms. Moore, who is also a nurse, urged him to drink gin even though it was not medically permitted to do so because he was also taking anti-depressants and painkillers. “I gave her a list of the medications I was on and she still poured me the drinks.”
Then, he said, she followed him back to his hotel where she spent the night.
A few weeks later, Mr. Kirkland said Ms. Moore sent him a message saying she intended to meet him during a golf trip in Saskatchewan that he had arranged with some of his friends. During that visit he said he told her they would not have a relationship.
But she still showed up at his home in Brandon a few weeks later where, he said, he insisted she was not welcome.
“With the Weir situation, she appointed herself some righteous ethical warrior for these victims of someone who did not understand social cues and who, when requested, stopped everything immediately,” said Mr. Kirkland. “Those in glass houses should not throw rocks and there have been some big boulders thrown around.”