PMO staffer Claude-Éric Gagné under investigation for alleged inappropriate behaviour
Deputy director of operations, on leave pending outcome of investigation, denies allegations
The deputy director of operations in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office is on leave while a third party investigates him for allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
TVA, a French-language television network, first reported the investigation of PMO staff member Claude-Éric Gagné and that he has been on forced leave since early November.
The PMO refuses to identify the staffer involved or provide any details of the allegations, but a source confirmed to CBC News that they are against Gagné and involve inappropriate behaviour.
"Any allegation brought forward to this office is taken extremely seriously," Trudeau's director of communications, Kate Purchase, wrote in an email.
Purchase said an investigation was "immediately triggered with the assistance of an independent investigator and the individual in question went on leave, pending the outcome."
In a statement in French to Radio-Canada, Gagné said he is on leave because of an independent investigation into "allegations which were brought to the attention of my employer."
The PMO staffer said he takes the situation seriously and has offered "my full and complete collaboration to the investigator," who he said has given him the opportunity to "explain my version of the facts in light of these allegations which I dispute."
Gagné said he hopes the process concludes as soon as possible, but that he won't make any other comments until then "so as not to undermine this process I have consented to."
Trudeau has demonstrated a zero-tolerance policy for harassment since taking office. When allegations of sexual harassment were made against Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti, Trudeau immediately suspended them from the Liberal caucus.
After getting the results of the independent investigation ordered by Trudeau, both MPs were kicked out of the Liberal fold.
- An earlier version of this story said Claude-Éric Gagné had been suspended from his position in the Prime Minister's Office. In fact, Gagné went on leave after an investigation by an independent party was launched.Dec 14, 2017 7:48 AM ET