Liberal Quebec MP Sherry Romanado has accused Conservative MP James Bezan of making “humiliating” comments to her that were not needed and “sexual in nature.”
In the House of Commons after question period today, Romanado, rose and said: “In May, the member from Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman publicly made inappropriate, humiliating, and unwanted comments to me that were sexual in nature.”
The Quebec MP said the comments have caused her “great stress” and have negatively impacted her work environment.
Bezan, who represents the Manitoba riding, made an unprompted apology to Romanado earlier in the day.In his apology in the House of Commons, he admitted to making an “inappropriate and insensitive comment” in Romanado’s presence.
Bezan said, “Earlier this year I made an inappropriate and insensitive comment in the presence of the member for Longeuil-Charles-LeMoyne. I have nothing but the greatest respect for this member, and for this institution, and I sincerely apologize.”
In a statement, Bezan said the comments were made at a public event at Ottawa City Hall on May 2, while the two were posing for a photo with another, unnamed person.
The event made headlines at the time because Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who was scheduled to speak, pulled out amid controversy over comments he made regarding his role in Operation Medusa, a 2006 battle that included Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
Bezan said that 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.”
“I realized that this comment was inappropriate and attempted to apologize the following day but was not afforded that opportunity,” he said.
The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) received a formal complaint about the incident on May 10, and Bezan said once that was brought to his attention, he sought mediation to apologize. He says that offer was denied.
Upon conclusion of the review of the incident, the CHRO found that the report “did not support a claim of sexual harassment,” and no disciplinary action was recommended against Bezan. At this time the file was closed.