Former NDP MP Peter Stoffer apologized to an employee of his party who accused him of sexual misconduct while he was a member of Parliament in Ottawa.
The employee, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, told the National Post that Peter Stoffer had tried to kiss her twice against her will, the first in 2006 and the second in 2009. She said that many people had witnessed the incident, but no one had responded.
Stoffer held a press conference in Halifax on Friday morning to make his mea-culpa. While denying the incidents described by Ms. Dobson-Hughes, he acknowledged that he was a warm-hearted person who likes to touch people and kiss people.
“I did not want to insult or denigrate or diminish anyone,” he said. “But it is clear from some of the remarks made that this is exactly what happened, and I apologize for it and humbly ask for forgiveness.”
He explained that upon his arrival at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, there were not many social activities. He took the initiative to organize a Christmas party, to which he invited representatives from all parties. He also created a non-partisan soccer club.
Mr. Stoffer says his office was recognized as a place to have fun, “play a game of pool or darts” and drink a beer.
Ms. Dobson-Hughes stated that she complained to her party leadership after the incidents. No penalty has been passed against Peter Stoffer, according to her.
“It meant that men could focus on the important and difficult work of economics, defense and electoral strategy […],” she wrote on Twitter. Once again, the struggle to end harassment and aggression was to come back to women.”
Still on Twitter, she says she will not answer any other questions about Peter Stoffer. “He was able to get away from this outrageous behavior,” she wrote. [What happened] is just the tip of the iceberg and we all know it! ”
NDP leader reacts
The leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, Jagmeet Singh, also turned to Twitter to respond on Thursday night. “I am deeply troubled by Peter Stoffer’s numerous allegations […],” he writes.
We will continue to review, renew and expand our harassment policies at all levels of our organization, including our candidate review process.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP, on Twitter
He adds that his office “will respond to any complaints we receive, no matter when the facts occurred. How we proceed will focus on the wishes of the person affected by these acts. ”
Peter Stoffer represented the Nova Scotia riding of Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook for 18 years, until his defeat in 2015. He has since been hired by the Trauma Healing Centers, an organization that helps veterans, especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.