NDP MP Christine Moore to take legal action after sexual misconduct allegations
NDP MP Christine Moore says she will sue for defamation after a retired soldier accused her of sexual misconduct last week.
In a press conference held in her Quebec riding on Monday, Moore denied the claim made by Glen Kirkland that she abused her power and sexually stalked him. Instead, she said the pair had had a consensual relationship — something Kirkland denies.
Moore said she intends to sue Kirkland as well as the three opinion columnists who published his allegations.
“It will take some time to get together the evidence surrounding this situation,” Moore said. “Because of the seriousness of the allegations, I am going to take legal action.”
Kirkland told media last week that while the sexual encounter between himself and Moore was consensual, he believed she used her position as a member of Parliament “to get what she wanted.”
He said the story had been known by several people around Parliament Hill for years.
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While it was mentioned once in a local tabloid, it was not actually reported on until Kirkland came forward with allegations to the CBC, National Post and Toronto Sun last week.
The three columnists who wrote about it – Neil MacDonald, Christie Blatchford and Rosie DiManno – are the ones Moore said she intends to sue.
In her press conference, Moore presented a very different version of events that what Kirkland has said took place.
What did Moore say happened?
Following the committee hearing, Moore said she encountered Kirkland outside of the building where the meeting had been held.
She said Kirkland was with several other veterans as well as a parliamentary assistant and told Moore they planned to go for some drinks.
At that point, Moore says she invited the group back to her office.
Once there, she offered them a drink – “maybe wine, maybe vodka,” she said – and kept the door of her office open.
Her employees were just outside, she said, and she did not serve gin as Kirkland said in his allegations.
Shortly after, she left to take part in a vote taking place in the House of Commons.
She told reporters that Kirkland sent her a text while she was voting and asked her to meet him on a patio.
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Moore said she went and brought her assistant, and met up with Kirkland as well as the parliamentary assistant who had been with him when he had left the committee earlier that day.
Kirkland followed her back to her office after, she said.
“We spoke briefly and Mr Kirkland kissed me, and I returned his kiss,” Moore said.
“He asked if I wanted to take my clothes off and I said no, I don’t think there is time.”
Moore said Kirkland tried to convince her not to return for another set of votes taking place in the House of Commons but she refused – then he reached out again.
“During the voting, he texted me to ask to meet him at his hotel later. I arrived around midnight,” she said.
“We had a sexual relationship in his room at that time.”
What does she say happened next?
The question of what happened next is one where Moore and Kirkland’s versions of events differ significantly.
Kirkland said in his allegation that Moore followed up on the encounter by sending explicit messages and made an unannounced visit to his home, though said that when he made it clear he was not interested, the two stopped communicating.
Moore, however, said the relationship between the two reached the point where she told her parents about him and that they communicated “fairly regularly” via chat, text and email.
In June 2013, she said Kirkland sent her flight details of a planned trip to come visit her but later cancelled, saying his ex-wife had found out about it.
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Kirkland was going through a divorce at the time and Moore said he was worried people would talk if word got out.
She then suggested she could go and visit him in Manitoba.
“He told me he was in love with me many times,” she said. “They were great times.”
The two remained in contact after that visit but he told her not long after that his divorce was “looking to be quite difficult.”
“As a result, I decided to end the relationship,” she said. “I stopped communicating with him in September 2013.”
Moore said she felt she had been left with “no choice” but to sue and that she hopes the legal process will put any concerns her constituents may have about the allegations to rest.
“I will not disappoint them,” she said. “The truth always ends up coming out.”
Moore did not say exactly when or where she intends to file her defamation claim.
Defamation law differs in Ontario and Quebec: among the differences is the fact that truth is not an absolute defence against defamation in Quebec like it is in the rest of Canada.
In Quebec, truth is only a defence if there was no malice in publishing the material in question.
In the rest of Canada, truth is an absolute defence even if something was published with malice.
As a result, defamation law in Quebec can be characterized as potentially more friendly to plaintiffs than defamation law elsewhere.