Liberal MP accuses Tory MP of ‘humiliating’ comments, sexual in nature

Sherry Romanado levelled the accusation against Manitoba MP James Bezan on Monday

A Liberal member of Parliament from Quebec says a Conservative MP made comments towards her that were “humiliating” and “sexual in nature” during an event back in May.

Sherry Romanado levelled the accusation Monday in the House of Commons after question period, even though Manitoba MP James Bezan had risen in the Commons a few hours earlier to deliver an apology — which he later said he’d been trying to give for months.

In a written statement later, Bezan said the incident had been reviewed by the Commons’ chief human resources officer who found it did not constitute sexual harassment and did not recommend any disciplinary action.

According to Bezan, the incident occurred as he posed for a photo with Romanado and another individual during an Ottawa-area event.

“While standing for the picture I made an inappropriate and flippant comment by saying, ‘This isn’t my idea of a threesome,’ which was intended as a partisan comment about being in a photo with a Liberal member of caucus,” Bezan said.

“I realized that this comment was inappropriate and attempted to apologize the following day but was not afforded that opportunity.”

Bezan said Romanado filed an official complaint against him with the chief human resources officer. Following the Commons protocol for sexual harassment complaints, he said he immediately offered to enter into mediation so that he could apologize.

“That request was also denied.”

The chief human resources officer then launched a review of the incident. According to Bezan, that review subsequently concluded last August that Romanado’s complaint “did not support a claim of sexual harassment. No disciplinary action was recommended against me.”

Nevertheless, he said he subsequently apologized in person to Romanado and completed sensitivity training offered by the House of Commons.

On Monday morning, Bezan apologized again, this time in the Commons.

“Earlier this year I made an inappropriate and insensitive comment in the presence of the member for Longueuil—Charles—LeMoyne,” Bezan said. “I have nothing but the greatest respect for this member, for this institution, and I sincerely apologize.”

Evidently not satisfied, Romanado stunned the Commons into silence when she rose a few hours later to level her allegation.

“In May, the member from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman publicly made inappropriate, humiliating and unwanted comments to me that were sexual in nature,” she said, as her fellow MPs shushed those around her.

“These comments have caused me great stress and have negatively affected my work environment.”

With that, Romanado sat back down, offering no further detail. Her office said she would have nothing more to say on the matter.

Later Monday, Romanado was peppered with questions from reporters as she emerged from a closed-door committee meeting surrounded by other Liberal MPs. She was repeatedly asked whether Bezan’s version of events was accurate, but refused to comment.

Asked if there’s a reason she doesn’t want to talk about it, she snapped, “It’s been an incredibly difficult seven months, that’s why,” before walking away without saying anything more.

— With files from Joan Bryden

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Parksville chamber names finalists for annual business awards

Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation to receive Community Spirt Award

PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer safe, flare gun, even a walker

Oceaside RCMP deal with 196 complaints in one-week span

Coldest Night of the Year walk in Parksville scheduled for Feb. 22

Annual event raises money for those in need

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read