January 1, 2015 5:03 pm
Updated: January 1, 2015 5:39 pm

How well did Justin Trudeau handle MP sexual assault claims?

When Justin Trudeau learned of what he called "serious personal misconduct" allegations against two Liberal MPs, he suspended them from caucus and asked for an independent investigation.

Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press
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Justin Trudeau faced a test of his leadership skills this fall in dealing with sexual assault allegations against two Liberal Members of Parliament.  While reaction to Trudeau’s actions was mixed, more than half of Canadians agreed the Liberal leader handled the situation appropriately, according to an exclusive Global News/Ipsos Reid poll.

The poll, conducted from Dec. 16-19, showed 47 per cent of respondents somewhat agreed with how Trudeau dealt with the situation, while 13 per cent strongly agreed.

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READ MORE: Liberal MPs kicked out of caucus amid harassment allegations

Support for Trudeau’s actions was highest in eastern Canada. Sixty-six per cent of Quebec respondents backed his “quick decision and zero-policy stance,” while 65 per cent of Atlantic Canadians said the same, the Ipsos Reid poll revealed.

According to the Ipsos Reid poll, 15 per cent of Canadians strongly disagreed and 25 per cent somewhat disagreed with how Trudeau dealt with the accusations.

When Trudeau learned of what he called “serious personal misconduct” allegations against two Liberal MPs, he suspended them from caucus and asked for an independent investigation.

READ MORE: Trudeau names lawyer to probe MP misconduct claims

The accusations, from two female NDP MPs, involved Quebec MP Massimo Pacetti and Newfoundland and Labrador MP Scott Andrews. Both Andrews and Pacetti have denied the allegations. No charges have been laid against either MP.

Trudeau said he had “a duty to protect and encourage individuals in these situations”

But NDP leader Tom Mulcair criticized Trudeau for not giving him advanced notice that he was going to act on the allegations. Mulcair accused Trudeau of going against the wishes of the women who came forward by not keeping their situations confidential.

“Anyone who went against that, of course, would be running the risk of making them become victims a second time,” Mulcair said Nov. 6 — the day after Trudeau suspended Pacetti and Andrews.

READ MORE: Unpacking the Politics: Fallout from Harassment on the Hill

The MP who accused Pacetti of having sex with her without her “explicit consent” told Global News in November she regrets telling the Liberal leader about her alleged encounter with the MP.

“I’m not feeling better than before I talked to Mr. Trudeau,” the NDP MP told Global News. “It’s really worse for me at this time.”

She also expressed concern that the backlash directed at her could discourage other women from speaking out about their experiences. She spoke to Global News on the condition of anonymity, saying she didn’t want the situation to define her career or her family.

Neither she nor Andrews’ accuser, who did not go directly to Trudeau, have filed complaints with police.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos Reid polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll involved online interviews with a sample of 1,005 Canadians between December 16 and 19, 2014 on behalf of Global News. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled.

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