NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he has temporarily suspended MP Christine Moore from her caucus duties and will be appointing an independent investigator “to conduct a fair and full examination” following allegations that Moore engaged in inappropriate behaviour involving a Canadian Forces veteran.
Singh said he was made aware of the allegations on Monday, and he takes them “very seriously.”
“Mme. Moore’s duties as an NDP MP, including participation on any committee, will be temporarily suspended,” Singh wrote in a statement issued early Tuesday afternoon.
“Once the work of the investigator has been completed, Mme. Moore’s role in caucus will be re-evaluated.”
Moore, the MP for the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, is alleged to have had a sexual encounter with a veteran, Glen Kirkland, after he testified before her and other members of a parliamentary committee on June 5, 2013.
Moore was first elected in 2011. Prior to that, she herself served in the Canadian Forces for several years, as a medical assistant with the 52nd Field Ambulance reserve unit in Sherbrooke.
‘She used her position of power’
Kirkland first spoke with CBC News about his interactions with Moore, and the story was published early Tuesday.
Moore allegedly handed him a business card following his emotional testimony before Parliament’s defence committee (Kirkland was severely injured in Afghanistan).
“She took interest in my health because her background is in nursing,” Kirkland confirmed to The Canadian Press by telephone on Tuesday.
“She asked me back to her office. I was a corporal in the military and a member of Parliament asked me to do something. There was no thought process. It was just the way it was.”
Moore is alleged to have offered him several drinks, persisting even after he told her he was taking various drugs that could interact with alcohol.
“I told her what I was on. She said it was fine. I was like: ‘Okay, you’re a nurse and you’re kind of my boss, so what am I going to say’?”
FROM THE ARCHIVES: How Canada’s Parliament deals with sexual harassment claims
Kirkland, who now works in real estate in Manitoba, said that Moore then spent the night in his hotel room. The veteran has made it clear the encounter was consensual, but says the power imbalance between the two was enough to render Moore’s behaviour “inappropriate.”
“She used her position of power and authority to get what she wanted,” he said.
The NDP MP is then alleged to have followed up with explicit messages, and eventually an unannounced visit to Kirkland’s home. Kirkland says once he made it clear he was not interested, communication between the two ceased.
Moore said Tuesday she is cooperating with the investigation.
“I welcome the opportunity to participate in the independent and fair examination of these allegations,” she said in a statement.
“Out of respect for the fairness and the integrity of the process, I will not be commenting further on these allegations at this point.”
The story comes on the heels of another case of alleged harassment involving MP Erin Weir, who was booted from the NDP caucus last week.
WATCH: Erin Weir discusses expulsion from NDP caucus, investigation into allegations
Moore was actually the MP who first flagged Weir’s inappropriate behaviour toward women in an internal email, kicking off a series of events that ended with a full third-party investigation.
Weir has acknowledged that he can sometimes be slow to pick up on social cues, and the probe found that one case of harassment and three more cases of sexual harassment were founded.
Singh then made the decision to remove Weir from caucus, explaining that he had not taken full responsibility for his actions and that his decision to speak publicly about the investigation led the NDP to conclude that any rehabilitative approach was “untenable.”
Asked about the new allegations involving Moore on Tuesday morning, NDP MP Nathan Cullen said he was waiting to hear what Singh would announce.
“My expectation, I think, would be the expectation of Canadians — that we would apply the same process that we applied in the recent past (with Weir),” Cullen said.
“We’ve made some very strong statements as New Democrats about how we conduct ourselves and how things are going to be managed if there’s allegations. And that we believe survivors, and that we go forward with an open and transparent process.”
-With files from the Canadian Press