Peter Goldring retracts statement advising MPs to wear body cameras
Controversy comes on heels of 2 female NDP MPs accusing Liberal colleagues of harassment
Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring now says he deeply regrets a statement he issued Wednesday that advised fellow members of Parliament to wear body cameras at all times for "risk protection" and to "prevent besmirchment."
The statement drew immediate and widespread criticism from other parties and shocked political pundits.
Hours later, a second statement was issued on Goldring's behalf through the Prime Minister's Office.
"Earlier today I issued a press release that I now recognize was completely inappropriate," the second statement read. "I retract that press release unconditionally and deeply regret it."
The sixty-nine-year-old Conservative MP's original statement appears to have been prompted by the allegations of harassment made recently by two female New Democrat MPs against two male Liberal MPs, who have since been suspended from their caucus.
"It will not be good enough to simply say that your intentions were honourable and you were just inviting a colleague to your apartment at two in the morning to play a game of Scrabble at the end of a day of playing sports and drinking," said Goldring's statement, issued from a parliamentary email address.
"MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth. I now wear ‘protection’ in the form of body-worn video recording equipment," the statement said.
"I suggest that others do so too, particularly because some accusers hide behind a shield of supposed credibility which many times is not, and sometimes even hide behind a cloak of anonymity, which conceals their shameful indiscretion and complicity."
NDP MP Megan Leslie called Goldring's comments "preposterous" during an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Wednesday evening. She said his statement trivializes a very serious issue.
"I'll take a deep breath and say that 'accusers' is code for 'women.' This is slut-shaming at its finest … the idea of 'she asked for it,' a lack of credibility about a woman coming forward," she said.
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale told Power & Politics host Evan Solomon he thinks the "rather strange ramble" doesn't add much to the "serious examination of a serious topic."
"I think it reflects a pretty archaic point of view and I would think members of the government would want to distance themselves pretty quickly from that statement of policy, if that's what Mr. Goldring intended it to be," Goodale said.
The Prime Minister's Office responded to requests for comment with a short email statement saying "Mr. Goldring’s comments reflect his own personal position."
One of the NDP MPs claiming harassment said she had non-consensual sex with MP Massimo Pacetti, who along with MP Scott Andrews has been kicked out of the Liberal caucus by party leader Justin Trudeau. Pacetti has said he is "innocent of any misconduct," and a parliamentary subcommittee is being assembled to investigate how to handle future allegations of harassment among MPs.
Goldring had run-in with police in 2011
The "encounter" Goldring alludes to in his statement could be what happened outside an Edmonton sports bar in December 2011, when police said the politician locked the doors to his vehicle and refused to come out to give a breath sample after being pulled over.
He testified he had one or two glasses of wine at a fundraiser and then a beer at a bar.
In 2013, he was found not guilty of all charges and was allowed back into the Conservative caucus after being suspended when the allegations arose.
Goldring has said he is not running again in next year's federal election.