NDP MP says she gave no 'explicit' consent to Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti's alleged advances

The NDP MP whose allegations of sexual impropriety against Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti led to his suspension from the Liberal caucus has disclosed details of the alleged incident in an interview with CBC News, saying it occurred last March after a late evening of sports and drinking.

Pacetti denies allegations and promises to partake in an independent process

Misconduct on the Hill

8 years ago
Duration 2:09
An NDP MP describes her experience and why she decided to go to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau with her allegations

The NDP MP whose allegations of sexual impropriety against Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti led to his suspension from the Liberal caucus told CBC News that the incident occurred last March after a late evening of sports and drinking.

The New Democrat, who said she wants to remain anonymous, acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that she never said no to Pacetti's alleged advances, nor did she give "explicit" consent to them. She said she has no plans to file a complaint with police.

Pacetti issued a statement affirming he is "innocent of any misconduct" while promising to take part in an independent process presided over by a neutral official.

Justin Trudeau suspended Pacetti from his caucus after the NDP MP confronted the Liberal leader with her version of the alleged incident last month.

Trudeau also suspended Newfoundland MP Scott Andrews based on separate personal misconduct allegations by another female NDP MP that were first relayed by the MP in the Pacetti incident. Andrews has said he is "confident" that an investigation "will find that no harassment has occurred." 

The suspensions unleashed a storm of controversy on Parliament Hill and led all parties to the embarrassing realization that they had no protocol for harassment among members of Parliament.

The first NDP MP alleges the incident took place in Pacetti’s hotel room where the two had one last drink after a night out with others.

She says that following the incident, there was little communication between the two of them, with the exception of the occasional greeting in the Commons foyer.

"Just boring stuff about the weekend. It was never me who initiated the conversation," she said.

'I reaffirm my innocence'

Pacetti is not speaking publicly but in a statement, he said he is "troubled that the complainant chose to air these allegations in the media, as this is inconsistent with statements conveyed through her party that privacy and fairness must be respected for both sides." He also said there is no way to evaluate the veracity of the claims.

And finally, he said: "I reaffirm my innocence and I will not comment on this matter in the media any further."

The NDP MP does reveal more about why she approached the Liberal leader in the first place instead of her own leader. It wasn’t until months later that she decided to bring him her concerns.

She said she approached him because she was hoping to leave politics out of it.

"I didn’t tell him so it could be public. I just thought he should know," she said.

The NDP MP didn’t have any complaints about how Trudeau dealt with things until he announced the suspension of Andrews and Pacetti.

She said she thinks he acted too quickly and could have done things differently.

Specifically, she said Trudeau could have let the NDP MPs know what actions he was considering so they could have prepared better for it.

The NDP MP said she is hoping she can soon move on and would be willing to accept some sort of apology.

For now, neither of the NDP MPs has made a formal complaint and neither seems willing to do so.

It is unclear how these particular allegations will be resolved. MPs are trying to come up with a plan for the future.

On Tuesday, MPs on the procedure and House affairs committee agreed to form a subcomittee to look into how to deal with future allegations.

The House of Commons still has to approve that decision and set the parameters for that work.