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Andrew Scheer orders probe into why Rick Dykstra was allowed to run despite misconduct allegations

Click to play video: 'Andrew Scheer orders probe into why Rick Dykstra was allowed to run despite misconduct allegations'
Andrew Scheer orders probe into why Rick Dykstra was allowed to run despite misconduct allegations
WATCH ABOVE: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday he had launched a third-party investigation into why Rick Dykstra, who is facing sexual misconduct allegations, was allowed to run in the 2015 federal election – Jan 31, 2018

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he has instructed the party to launch a third-party investigation into why former Conservative MP Rick Dykstra was allowed to run in 2015 despite senior leaders in the party reportedly knowing about sexual misconduct allegations made against him.

According to a report published Sunday night by Macleans Magazine, a former female party staffer alleged that Dykstra assaulted her following a 2014 post-budget party in Ottawa and that the party knew about the allegations but decided to let him run anyway given that no criminal charges were pending.

READ MORE: Andrew Scheer says he can’t speak to why Rick Dykstra was allowed to run after sex assault allegations

Dykstra lost that campaign and headed down to Toronto to become president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party —  a post he resigned from on Sunday evening just before the report of his alleged misconduct was published.

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Scheer has been under pressure to explain why Dykstra was allowed to run and whether he was aware of the allegations against him.

READ MORE: Rick Dykstra steps down as Ontario PC party president amid major staff shakeup

In a press conference Wednesday, Scheer appeared to avoid actually naming Dykstra and confirmed the former MP was the subject of the investigation only when pressed by reporters.

“It is about the gentleman who has been named in multiple media reports,” Scheer said.

“Rick Dykstra?” asked a journalist.

“Yes,” Scheer replied.

Click to play video: 'Ontario PC Party president Rick Dykstra resigns amid major staff shakeup'
Ontario PC Party president Rick Dykstra resigns amid major staff shakeup

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario PC Party president Rick Dykstra resigns amid major staff shakeup

He continued, noting his role at the time the decision was made to allow Dykstra to run did not see him involved in the discussions among party officials as to how to deal with the allegation.

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“I was Speaker of the House of Commons,” he said. “I was not involved in the war room, I was not involved in the campaign.”

Scheer also said the party will be “strengthening the code of conduct” for all party staff and introduce greater screening for all MPs, but said further details of how those will work will come once the processes are actually put in place.

 

Members of the Conservative caucus have been demanding answers since the allegations against Dykstra came to light.

Maxime Bernier, the Conservative innovation critic who finished a close second to Scheer in the party leadership vote last year, is among those who have been pushing for an explanation.

Speaking before weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning, Bernier said the party had the facts at the time and must explain exactly what happened.

WATCH BELOW: Queen’s Park panel weighs in on the Patrick Brown sex scandal

Click to play video: 'Queen’s Park panel weighs in on the Patrick Brown sex scandal'
Queen’s Park panel weighs in on the Patrick Brown sex scandal

Bernier has insisted he did not know about the allegations against Dykstra or those against former Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who resigned exactly one week ago following allegations made by two women to CTV News that Brown assaulted them over the past decade.

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Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt, also a former leadership contender, says Scheer has made it clear the party currently has a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual misconduct and will ensure that complainants and those who are accused of misconduct each have a process to follow.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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