No memory of ‘negative interactions,’ Trudeau says of groping allegations from 18 years ago

Click to play video: 'No memory of ‘negative interactions’ says Trudeau of 18-year-old groping allegation'
No memory of ‘negative interactions’ says Trudeau of 18-year-old groping allegation
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses an allegation of groping made 18 years ago in an anonymous newspaper column – Jul 2, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he does not remember any “negative interactions” during an event he attended 18 years ago in British Columbia – acknowledging for the first time allegations of sexual misconduct that recently resurfaced about him at the event.

Trudeau told reporters in Regina on Sunday that he remembers attending the music festival in Creston, B.C., in the summer of 2000, but said he doesn’t recall anything going amiss.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau on why Kent Hehr remains in caucus amid groping allegations: ‘Every case will be different’

“I remember that day in Creston well, it was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all,” Trudeau said.

This marks the first time Trudeau has offered direct comment on the 18-year-old allegation that has resurfaced in media reports in recent weeks.

Story continues below advertisement

However, his answer is the same one that has been provided by his office in response to recent questions about the allegation.

WATCH BELOW: Trudeau says there’s no ‘rule book’ on handling recent sexual misconduct allegations

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says there’s no ‘rule book’ on handling recent sexual misconduct allegations'
Trudeau says there’s no ‘rule book’ on handling recent sexual misconduct allegations

The alleged incident reportedly took place at a music festival where money was being raised for the Avalanche Foundation, a charity Trudeau became involved with after his brother Michel died in an avalanche in 1998.

In the days that followed, an editorial appeared in the Creston Valley Advance alleging Trudeau had apologized to an unnamed female reporter at the newspaper after “groping” her at the event. It alleged he told the woman he would not have “been so forward” if he had known she was reporting for a national newspaper.

The unsigned editorial resurfaced recently and has led to calls for the prime minister to address the allegations.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau, Kent Hehr attend Liberals’ sexual harassment training session

He answered one question on the issue Sunday, but did not offer an opportunity for any follow-ups.

The allegation is particularly problematic for Trudeau, who frequently proclaims himself a feminist and has generally taken a zero-tolerance approach to allegations of sexual misconduct within the Liberal party.

Four MPs have resigned or been kicked out of the Liberal caucus over alleged sexual misconduct since Trudeau became party leader in 2013.

WATCH BELOW: Ottawa’s plan to deal with harassment on Parliament Hill

Click to play video: 'Ottawa’s plan to deal with harassment on Parliament Hill'
Ottawa’s plan to deal with harassment on Parliament Hill

Trudeau has acknowledged that he, like other political leaders, is struggling to figure out the best way to deal with allegations while still allowing due process for those accused.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t have a rule book that’s been handed down to me from Wilfrid Laurier as leader of the Liberal party on how to handle these situations,” Trudeau said in January.

The Canadian Press has made efforts to speak to the other person involved in the alleged 2000 incident in Creston, B.C., but those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

With files from Sam Maciag in Regina and Mia Rabson in Ottawa.

Sponsored content