Nfld. & Labrador

'Move on' from Scott Andrews controversy, says Ken McDonald

Liberal candidate Ken McDonald says allegations that Scott Andrews sexually harassed a female MP is a “dead issue” and urges people to move on.

Scott Andrews says he is not guilty of sexual misconduct

Independent candidate Scott Andrews, NDP Jeannie Baldwin, Liberal Ken McDonald, and Conservative Lorraine Barnett faced off in a CBC Radio debate Thursday night. (CBC)

Liberal candidate Ken McDonald says the allegations that Scott Andrews sexually harassed a female MP is a "dead issue" and urges people to move on.

(CBC)

McDonald made the statement during a CBC Radio debate Thursday night for the candidates in Avalon.

"I haven't seen two questions on the issue since I've started knocking on doors, and I've knocked on a good many," said McDonald.

Radio debate: Scott Andrews, Jeannie Baldwin, Ken McDonald and Lorraine Barnett 1:30:04

"I'd like to see Avalon move on. The issue of the Scott Andrews, for me it's a dead issue. It's like you said, moving on. And that's what I think everybody should do, move on."

Andrews says he's not guilty

Andrews was kicked out of the Liberal caucus last March after an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by a female New Democrat MP.

The results of the investigation have not been made public. .

"I am not guilty of sexual misconduct," Andrews said, when questioned during the debate.

"The allegations involving a fellow colleague in the House of Commons are unsubstantiated. The media has often repeated and the deliberate leaks out of Ottawa were circulated to discredit me."

Andrews refused to deny any wrongdoing when he was ousted from the caucus in March.

Incumbent Scott Andrews is running in Avalon as an independent, after he was kicked out of the Liberal party amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. (CBC)

Conservative candidate Lorraine Barnett and the NDP's Jeannie Baldwin said they still had some questions.

"You're ousted from the Liberal party on sexual misconduct allegations, but you really haven't defended yourself to the people," said Barnett.

"I'm just wondering why you just can't come clean? I think it's just a bit confusing for the people of Avalon."

Andrews said he won't release the report because he wants to respect the confidentiality of everyone involved.

Harper coming to Newfoundland and Labrador

The candidates discussed several issues during Thursday's debate, including the controversy over the $400 million fisheries fund, student debt, and the 'last in, first out' policy for shrimp quotas.

During the debate, Barnett said that Stephen Harper will be coming to Newfoundland and Labrador during the campaign period, although she would not say when.

"The prime minister will be here. I know when he's coming, but I'll leave that to him," she said.

Harper has not visited the province since 2012, when he went to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to sign the federal loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls.

McDonald makes promise on search and rescue

When questioned, Liberal McDonald also said he'd match the NDP's commitment to implement a 30 minute search and rescue response time, 24 hours a day.

The federal Liberals, however, have not made any promises about this issue.

"I would hope they do the same thing. That's the standard in the industry is 30 minutes wheels up, and I would expect a Liberal government to obligate that to the province as well," he said.

 "It's a commitment from me."

Green Party candidate Krista Byrne-Puumala and Strength in Democracy candidate Jennifer McCreath were both invited to participate in the debate, but declined.

CBC Radio will host a debate for the candidates in St. John's East next Wednesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Howells is a multi-platform reporter and radio producer. She has worked for CBC in Toronto, Hamilton, Whitehorse, and St. John's. Send story ideas to laura.howells@cbc.ca and follow her on Twitter @LauraHowellsNL.

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