Woman says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised after he groped her in 2000
A FORMER newspaper reporter has said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised to her after what she described as an inappropriate encounter nearly two decades ago.
Rose Knight also confirmed on Friday that she is the reporter referred to in an editorial 18 years ago in the Creston Valley Advance that said she was groped by Mr Trudeau while covering a music festival in British Columbia.
She said in a statement she doesn’t plan to take the matter further.
“I enjoyed my career as a reporter, but it ended a long time ago. I avoided issuing a statement earlier out of concern for my and my family’s privacy,” she wrote. “The incident referred to in the editorial did occur as reported. Mr. Trudeau did apologise the next day.
“Beyond this statement, I will not be providing any further details or information. The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.”
Ms Knight also said she never had contact with Mr Trudeau again.
The alleged incident took place at the Kokanee Summit festival in August 2000, which Mr Trudeau attended to accept a donation for the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign. The prime minister’s family launched the campaign after Mr Trudeau’s youngest brother, Michel, died in an avalanche in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in 1998.
Mr Trudeau said on Friday that he respects Ms Knight’s decision to speak out but remembers the encounter in another way.
“I’m confident that I did not act inappropriately but I think the essence of this is that people can experience interactions differently,” he said.
“Part of the lesson that we need to learn in this time of collective awakening is a level of respect and understanding for the fact that people, in many cases women, experience interactions in a professional context and other contexts differently than men.”
Mr Trudeau was scheduled to attend an event on Saturday with Kent Hehr, a member of Calgary’s parliament who lost his cabinet post after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with women.
The prime minister said the allegations against him and those against Mr Hehr are different.
“I think people understand that every situation is different and we have to reflect and take seriously every situation on a case-by-case basis,” Mr Trudeau said. “That’s exactly what we’re endeavouring to do.”
The unsigned editorial that appeared in British Columbia’s Creston Valley Advance said Mr Trudeau “inappropriately handled” a reporter covering the festival and apologised to her by saying, “If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was asked about the allegations on Friday and said it’s important for women to be taken seriously if they come forward.
“Once that happens, we have to make sure that there’s a very fair process and that everyone’s voice is heard,” she said.