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

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Langford firefighters raise $1,065 for Burn Camp

B.C. firefighters and burn survivors raise $200,068 this year for Burn Camp

Victoria church to ring bells for 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

Bells expected at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6 and 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 9

VicPD find used, uncapped needle tied to handrail in Beacon Hill Park

Officers believe the needle was put there with the intent to harm someone

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Most Read