'Inappropriate, humiliating': Liberal MP accuses Conservative of unwanted sexual remarks
Quebec MP Sherry Romanado says comments caused stress and negatively affected her work environment
A Liberal MP has called out a Conservative MP for making "humiliating and unwanted" sexual remarks she says caused her great stress in the workplace.
Sherry Romanado made the accusations in the House of Commons on a point of order, just hours after Manitoba Conservative MP James Bezan apologized for making an "inappropriate and insensitive" comment in her presence.
Romanado, a Quebec MP and parliamentary secretary to the minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence, said the comments were made in May.
"These comments have caused me great stress and negatively affected my work environment," she said.
Her office declined to provide more details about the comments. Romanado said she had nothing further to add as she left a meeting of the Commons defence committee late Monday afternoon.
Late this afternoon, Bezan issued a statement detailing his take on the events of May 2, 2017, at a public event at Ottawa City Hall when he was posing for a picture with Romanado and another person.
"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," his statement reads.
"I realized that this comment was inappropriate and attempted to apologize the following day but was not afforded that opportunity."
Offered to enter mediation
On May 10, 2017, the chief human resources officer received a formal complaint about his comment from the MP. Bezan said he immediately offered to enter into mediation so he could apologize, but the request was denied.
A subsequent review was launched by HR into the comment, during which Bezan said he apologized in writing.
On Aug. 16, 2017, the chief human resources officer (CHRO) confirmed in writing that his report "did not support a claim of sexual harassment" and that no disciplinary action was recommended against Bezan.
An email from the officer to Bezan provided to CBC News says: "After careful consideration and discussion with the Whip's office, I have concluded that, since the Final Report did not support a claim of sexual harassment, remedies beyond the recommendation in the report are not required by the Code," reads the note provided to CBC News.
"This file is therefore considered closed."
Bezan said he apologized again with an agreement of the two party whips in question, and completed sensitivity training offered by the House of Commons.
"As a further measure, I agreed to mediation with the member after the CHRO issued his findings and again, apologized to the member."
Shortly after 11 a.m. today, four hours before Romanado's statement, Bezan stood to say sorry in the House of Commons.
"I have nothing but the greatest respect for this member, for this institution, and I sincerely apologize," he said.
Sources tell CBC News that Romanado raised the incident during a Liberal caucus meeting last week. She was shaken and cried as she recounted the incident, and said that it affected her dramatically and affected her ability to do her job.
Late Tuesday Romanado issued a statement calling Bezan out for "never once" personally apologizing to her over the incident.
"He never once apologized to me personally despite our working in the same standing committee in the House of Commons, participating on media panels and sitting across from each other in the House," the statement issued by Romanado's office said. "There was ample opportunity for him to do so."