Former NDP MP Peter Stoffer has responded to allegations of inappropriate behaviour by apologizing, saying it was never his intention to insult, demean or belittle anyone.
Stoffer met with reporters in Halifax on Friday, one day after allegations of inappropriate touching and kissing were levelled against him by women during his time in Ottawa.
“There is no question that if people think that my actions insulted them or hurt them in any way, shape or form … for that I am deeply, deeply apologetic and regretful,” Stoffer said.
“I have never, ever in my life either sexually assaulted or physically abused anybody. Not at all.”
He described himself to reporters as a “hugger” and a “touchy person.”
Allegations against the former Sackville—Eastern Shore MP were made in a National Post report that cited three women.
One of them, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, accuses the former Nova Scotia MP of grabbing and kissing her without her consent on two separate occasions in 2006 and 2009.
Dobson-Hughes, who was an NDP staffer at the time of the alleged incidents, told the National Post that several other MPs and senior staff were present at the second alleged incident “but nobody batted an eyelid.”
“I don’t recall the actual meeting that we had but no, again, if people assume that my actions were in any way untoward in this regard, then there’s no question I apologize,” Stoffer said.
WATCH: Peter Stoffer addresses allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Stoffer began his impromptu news conference by detailing how he organized all-party get-togethers after becoming an MP in 1997 to combat the “dry and toxic” environment on Parliament Hill. He told reporters he had an open-door policy at his Ottawa office, so people could “play a game of pool or have a cold one.”
“My entire life I’ve always been a very, very gregarious, very fun-going person. That’s how I’ve always been,” he said.
Stoffer, who was the NDP’s veterans affairs critic, remained an MP until his defeat in 2015. Since then, Stoffer has continued working with veterans as an advocate.
On Friday, he told reporters he has spoken to the president of the NDP, Marit Stiles, and has indicated he will not be attending any conventions. He also apologized to the federal and provincial NDP for affecting their reputation.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday that he is “deeply disturbed” by the allegations and the party would continue to “review, renew and expand” its harassment policies.
— With files from The Canadian Press