I don’t think it matters how carefully Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches where he is going, somehow he is going to step in it.
After Troy Myers, a Conservative candidate in the Nova Scotia riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, withdrew from the campaign when asked by the Tories because of an allegation of sexual assault; Trudeau was asked whether he would commit to doing the same if something along that line happened within his party.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
“Canadians deserve to know the people standing up to represent them, to serve them in the House of Commons, are not people who have shown disrespect, misbehaved or are facing serious allegations.”
He said he had been unequivocal in showing “zero tolerance” for those engaged in harassment or intimidation.
Then about 24 hours later he found himself ankle deep in the smelly stuff.
One of his own, Raj Saini, the Liberal candidate for Kitchener Centre, was facing numerous sexual misconduct allegations.
And Trudeau, despite what he had said earlier in regard to the situation the Conservatives faced with Myers, indicated he was standing by the 54-year-old pharmacist who has represented the riding since first being elected in 2015.
I am all for accused persons being considered innocent until proven guilty.
But there is plenty of precedent at the moment, especially in the sports world, of people stepping out of any role they are in and in other cases being pushed out, as is the case with Maj._Gen. Dany Fortin on an allegation of sexual assault, that leads me to believe that that also should be the case with Saini.,
For him to continue to run surely will be a distraction, just as it would have been if Myers had remained a candidate.
But I guess I shouldn’t have worried. Things have now turned out as they should have in the first place.
Saini is no longer a candidate.
He says he resigned. The Liberals seem to indicate he was pushed.
Saini in a statement said he had taken the painful decision to end his campaign for the 44th Parliament.
The Liberal Party, reversing itself in a statement that left out Trudeau’s name in a probable attempt to save him some embarrassment, said that as a result of a review process initiated after new information was directly provided to the party Mr. Saini will no longer be a Liberal candidate,
Whatever the case, this is as it should be, Saini being out.
I believe the Conservatives did the right thing.
Trudeau initially did not.
Both Myers and Saini have denied the allegations.
In Myers’s case, a woman posted a series of tweets alleging he had put his hand up her skirt while the two were attending a conference in Nova Scotia in October 2019.
The allegations against Saini, according to several sources who spoke to CBC News, include “touching” and “being ‘handsy’” at a party function; following a staffer around asking for her phone number; late night requests for a staffer to come to the office and, in one case, a senior staffer said she considered suicide, alleging Saini would push her up against the wall during outbursts and also had touched her leg.
CBC News said sources claimed that higher-ups in the party were made aware of Saini’s behaviour, but nothing was done.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole accused the highest echelons of the Liberal party of “no accountability and a culture of cover-up” in relation to Saini being allowed to run despite facing th sexual misconduct allegations.
“Anyone who has a responsibility to address this and does not is not fit to lead,” he said.
When asked about Saini on the campaign trail, Trudeau was quoted as saying the Liberals took the issue of workplace harassment seriously.
“I’ve said many times and will continue to insist that everyone deserves to have a safe workplace, in the public service, in political campaigns, and right across the country in whatever jobs they have,” said Trudeau.
But he didn’t address the specific complaints about Saini, saying only that there have been rigorous processes, whatever that means.
Trudeau was taking fire from all corners for his quick turn-around in thought, agreeing with what the Conservatives did with Myers and then just a short time later going the other way himself with Saini.
And now this, the candidate he stood by gone.
If there is a way to do it wrong, it seems he will find it.
A RECENT STORY in The Sault Star quoted Ray Magnan, the head of traffic services for Sault Ste. Marie Police Services, as saying the community in recent months has been mirroring a province-wide trend of motorists topping posted speed limits.
The service apparently has received numerous complaints about speeding but the story did not say what the police intend to do about it.
Magnan indicated that almost all police cruisers have radar to monitor the speed of vehicles ahead and behind them and when complaints start to climb, an extra officer can be assigned to monitor speeds on specific streets during peak traffic volume.
So let’s do it.
From personal experience, I would think that complaints must be rising, although I must admit I have been remiss in not mentioning it myself in this column, considering I have been witnessing plenty of it, especially on the new Autobahn that doubles as Black Road between Second Line and McNabb Street.
On May 1 two motorists were clocked at speeds in excess of 150 kilometres an hour on this stretch, which has a speed limit of 160. Both motorists were charged with stunt driving and had their vehicles impounded and licences suspended.
The speeding I have witnessed is nothing like that; it is more in the 80- to 90-kilometre-an-hour range.
I like to set my cruise control about 69 and travel in the outside lane. I am passed by just about everybody who is on that road.
And I know why, at least when heading north. About 95 percent of the vehicles travelling north are going to make a left turn onto Second Line, therefore they like to travel on the inside lane.
This makes it tough for those who drive like I do. We like to travel in the slower outside lane but we can find it hard during busy times to get into the inside lane to make the ledft turn onto Second Line.
Anyway, I am all for anything the police can do about speeding.
But I think to get their message across they are going to have to come down hard on speeders and make public the hefty fines that are being handed out.