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Tory MP backtracks on advice to wear recording devices to guard against allegations

Jessica Hume. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

By Jessica Hume, National Bureau

Conservative MP Peter Goldring suggested parliamentarians wear recording devices at all times to guard against accusations of harassment. (CODIE McLACHLAN/QMI Agency file photo)

Conservative MP Peter Goldring suggested parliamentarians wear recording devices at all times to guard against accusations of harassment. (CODIE McLACHLAN/QMI Agency file photo)

OTTAWA - A Tory MP who waded into the sexual harassment on the Hill scandal with eyebrow-raising guidance to parliamentarians that they wear recording to devices at all times to guard against allegations has withdrawn his advice.

Late Wednesday, Peter Goldring issued a statement saying his an earlier release was "completely inappropriate."

Peter Goldring had earlier said he wears recording equipment himself and has never been accused of harassment.

"MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth," the Edmonton East MP said. "I now wear protection in the form of body-worn video recording equipment.

"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."

Hours later he backtracked.

"Earlier (Wednesday) I issued a press release that I now recognize was completely inappropriate," he backtracked. "I retract that press release unconditionally and deeply regret it."

The House has been struggling with how to come up with a sexual harassment policy as well as a way to investigate allegations made by two NDP MPs against two Liberal MPs.

Earlier this week, one NDP accuser in the sexual harassment saga indicated she would be open to a formal investigation, though party leaders are unclear how to proceed.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau expelled MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti earlier this month after the NDP MPs accused them of sexual harassment.

The allegations against Pacetti and Andrews exposed the fact the House of Commons has no sexual harassment policy governing MPs.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair suggested a new code of conduct and bringing in an independent third-party officer to conduct investigations and prescribe remedies.

Trudeau expressed optimism Wednesday about a third-party investigation.

"I think one of the important elements of the process is to give the former Liberal MPs an opportunity to tell their sides of the story, and to be able to both reassure and encourage individuals who would come forward with allegations and complaints that there is a process whereby their stories will be taken seriously," Trudeau told reporters. "What is necessary is a clarity of process."

Neither of the NDP MPs have revealed their identities publicly and the party has throughout the ordeal clung to the idea that confidentiality is paramount.

But earlier this week, one of the NDP MPs gave a detailed account to media of her allegations.

She said she'd considered Pacetti a friend and thought nothing of it when he invited her back to the hotel where he lives in Ottawa for a nightcap after a group had been drinking at a bar.

She alleged that what ensued was sex without explicit consent but refused to use the word "rape."

She also said all she wanted from Pacetti was an apology.

Pacetti has maintained his innocence but never denied having sex with the MP.

Andrews too has said he's innocent.

The Canadian Press reported that Andrews allegedly followed an NDP MP home after drinks and forced his way into her home despite her trying to close the door.

Once inside, Andrews is alleged to have pushed the woman against a wall, groped her and pushed his pelvis against her.

House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has made "the resources of the House administration as well as external experts in this field" available to all four MPs.

jessica.hume@sunmedia.ca


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