A Conservative backbencher is raising eyebrows with a bizarre warning to colleagues against “consorting without protection” in the wake of revelations about misconduct allegations on Parliament Hill.
Edmonton MP Peter Goldring said he wears video recording equipment due to unspecified past encounters with authority figures to “prevent besmirchment when encounters run awry.”
“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,” Goldring said in a statement.
“MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth.”
Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews were suspended from caucus earlier this month amid allegations of misconduct levelled by two of their NDP colleagues.
One of the New Democrat MPs, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, spoke to the media this week.
Goldring appeared to reference those media reports when he said some accusers “even hide behind a cloak of anonymity, which conceals their shameful indiscretion and complicity.”
The Prime Minister’s Office would say only that Goldring’s news release reflects his own personal opinions.
In Australia earlier this month, Stephen Harper said the government does not take complaints of sexual harassment lightly.
“Obviously sexual harassment is a very serious issue and I know that in government, in our government, we have had policies on how we deal with it for some time,” he said.
“The matter has to be taken seriously and there has to be a framework for dealing with these things.”
Goldring, who was first elected as a Reform MP in 1997, is not running for re-election in next year’s vote.
He withdrew from the Conservative caucus in December 2011 after he was charged with refusing to provide a breathalyzer sample when pulled over by police after a Christmas party.
Goldring returned to the caucus ranks last year after he was found not guilty of the charge. The judge concluded that Goldring’s decision not to provide the sample wasn’t conscious or wilful.